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This article was published 12/8/2013 (2909 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Portage and Main is having its reputation put up to a national vote.
The Canadian Institute of Planners is holding its annual contest to determine which spots -- street, public space and neighbourhood -- are truly the "Great Places in Canada." Winnipeg's most famous corner has been nominated in the 'street' category of the contest, joining Saint Catherine Street in Montreal and Lacombe's 50th Avenue, which serves as the main street of the Alberta town.
Right now, those are the only three in the category. The nomination process is open until Sept. 2, when the voting starts. Online ballots can be submitted through Sept. 22.
"The idea came about just through discussions with planners saying that there needs to be a way for us to highlight great achievements in planning to the general public," said Jacklyn Nielsen, a spokeswoman at the institute. "The point of the CIP is to promote good planning -- what better way to get people involved than a contest?"
In 2012, the CIP named Osborne Village Canada's top neighbourhood.
So what makes Portage and Main, the coldest corner in Canada and the country's widest thoroughfare in terms of traffic, so great? The history and the way it ties into the fabric of the country, the CIP says.
The argument for the corner is as strong as the wind that blows there:
- Portage and Main is over 150 years old and was part of the Red River ox cart trail. The corner is older than Winnipeg itself, the latter established in 1874.
- It is a backdrop for the Stompin' Tom Connors song Red River Jane.
- More music: in the Randy Bachman and Neil Young song Prairie Town, the chorus repeats the line "Portage and Main, 50 below."
- Portage and Main is an answer in Trivial Pursuit. It's also a property on the Canadian version of the Monopoly board game.
- Sports fans in Winnipeg know its significance, too. It's the spot where Bobby Hull signed with the original (WHA) Winnipeg Jets franchise in 1972; Dale Hawerchuk also signed his first NHL contract with the Jets at the famous corner in 1980.
To vote on the Great Places in Canada contest, visit the CIP website (cip-icu.ca) and follow the links.