After 106 years, the Redwood Bridge is no more -- but don't go blaming illusionist David Copperfield.
City council voted Wednesday to change the name of Winnipeg's oldest functioning motor-vehicle bridge after former councillor Harry Lazarenko, who spent two stints on city council spanning 30 years.
In a unanimous vote, council changed the name of Redwood Bridge to Harry Lazarenko Bridge. The motion was authored by Lazarenko's successor, Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie, who had failed in an earlier effort to rename the North End's Machray Park after Lazarenko. The Redwood Bridge was built in 1908 to connect the North End with Elmwood. The origin of the name Redwood is a matter of dispute.
The Manitoba Historical Society maintains Redwood was the name of a home built near the future site of the bridge in 1857 by William Inkster, a son of fur trade-era settler John Inkster, and later owned by brewer, city councillor and MLA Edward Drewery.
The society also cites Redwood as an area of the Red River Settlement where Alfred Boyd, one of Manitoba's first MLAs and the first provincial secretary, used to live.
"I'm hearing different versions, different stories and I don't know which one is 100 per cent correct," said Mayor Sam Katz, who seconded Eadie's motion.
Katz said the city does not change names of any geographic feature named after a significant Manitoban. Eadie insisted earlier this week Redwood is not the name of a person, but a place.
Council chose to recognize Lazarenko on the basis of the exceptional length of his public service and his devotion to riverbank protection.
Lazarenko sat on council from 1974 to 1977 and then again from 1983 to 2010. He suffered a brain aneurysm in May 2010 and did not return to office for the final months of his last term.