May 23, 2019

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'Better than Hollywood'

Bowman unveils city-approved 'Garbage Hill' signage at city park

It's better than Hollywood; the mayor says so.

Brian Bowman pulled a tarp off a city-approved, donated Hollywood-esqe sign placed atop one of the hills in Westview Park at Empress Street and Wellington Avenue on Thursday morning.

Most Winnipeggers affectionately know the place as "Garbage Hill," and the big white, block letters from SRS Signs and Service have made it — sort of — official, loud and clear.

"It's just tongue-in-cheek," Bowman said. "It's Winnipeggers doing what Winnipeggers do best, and that's just light-hearted, making gentle fun of ourselves. To put a Hollywood-style sign on a hill of garbage, it's just fun."

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It's better than Hollywood; the mayor says so.

Brian Bowman pulled a tarp off a city-approved, donated Hollywood-esqe sign placed atop one of the hills in Westview Park at Empress Street and Wellington Avenue on Thursday morning.

Mayor Brian Bowman, along with President of SRS Signs and Service Inc. Shane Storie (left) and city councillor Scott Gillingham, unveil the new Garbage Hill sign. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Mayor Brian Bowman, along with President of SRS Signs and Service Inc. Shane Storie (left) and city councillor Scott Gillingham, unveil the new Garbage Hill sign. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Most Winnipeggers affectionately know the place as "Garbage Hill," and the big white, block letters from SRS Signs and Service have made it — sort of — official, loud and clear.

"It's just tongue-in-cheek," Bowman said. "It's Winnipeggers doing what Winnipeggers do best, and that's just light-hearted, making gentle fun of ourselves. To put a Hollywood-style sign on a hill of garbage, it's just fun."

The west Winnipeg landmark served as the city's dump from 1875 to 1948.

"What I like about this is, some say Hollywood is built on filth," Bowman said, making note of SRS's generosity in donating the sign. "But this is literally built on garbage, so this is better than the Hollywood sign."

The approved signage followed the short-lived but much-discussed appearance of anonymously placed letters in the same area last fall that were removed quickly by city workers after it was determined that sign didn't meet construction regulations.

"Whoever did it, I have to give them compliments for capturing the imagination of Winnipeggers," Bowman said. "I understand the name is James (person who placed the original sign) but we don't have a last name. Hopefully James is going to visit here with a smile on his face."

The approximately one-metre-tall, six-metres-wide letters are in a font called "Hollywood Hills," inspired by the sign in Los Angeles overlooking the movie-making centre of the universe.

Winnipeg's $6,000 version faces the downtown skyline and is attached to poles driven nearly two metres underground so it can withstand Winnipeg's windiest days.

The original guerilla Garbage Hill sign was taken down by the city Monday hours after it appeared in September. (Mikaela Mackenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p>

The original guerilla Garbage Hill sign was taken down by the city Monday hours after it appeared in September. (Mikaela Mackenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

"It was just a fun project, seemed interesting and I wanted to be involved," said SRS president Shane Storie, who was on hand for the big reveal.

Storie said his friend's company donated the engineering for the sign and he got a reduced rate from another company to install the posts.

"I'm the past chair of West End Biz, I was on the Biz board for five or seven years, I had two different homes on Sherburn and my shop is just on the other side," he said.

"I just wanted to be involved. We had done the Winnipeg sign (by the Scotiabank Stage at The Forks) and this was just the next neat project to work on."

The sign is constructed with aluminum composite panels and the letters are covered in white reflective vinyl sheeting, Storie said.

"The moonlight or any flash will jump off, just like a reflective street sign. It'll be around for a long time," he said.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSMayor Brian Bowman (from left), councillor Cindy Gilroy, President of SRS Signs and Service Inc. Shane Storie, and councillor Scott Gillingham pose with the new Garbage Hill sign.</p>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSMayor Brian Bowman (from left), councillor Cindy Gilroy, President of SRS Signs and Service Inc. Shane Storie, and councillor Scott Gillingham pose with the new Garbage Hill sign.

Storie said Bowman directed the original sign-maker to him.

"He (James) used to come down here for a walk and he thought it would be amusing to make a Garbage Hill sign out of garbage," Storie said, noting the first sign was made from construction scraps.

"He quoted to the effect that, 'The noise sounds so nice from far away,' so he does not want to be known."

Bowman joked that the city had a difficult time determining where the sign should be situated.

"The challenge we had is trying to determine which majestic mountain peak in Winnipeg we were going to erect the sign on," he said, with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

"With the robust number of mountains in Winnipeg, that was and remains the challenge, but I hope Winnipeggers enjoy it."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Ashley Prest

Ashley Prest
Reporter

Ashley works the general assignment beat.

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History

Updated on Thursday, December 20, 2018 at 1:17 PM CST: Adds video.

1:33 PM: clarifies size

2:05 PM: write-thru

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