When is a street sign more than just a street sign? When it has history on its side.
In a rare move Wednesday, members of the City of Winnipeg’s historical buildings and resources committee voted to add a number of street pillars and a city gate to the list of historical resources.
Of the eight locations where street pillars were up for nomination, the committee voted unanimously to add three to the list.
They were the concrete and stone pillars located at the intersections of Portage Avenue and Overdale Street, St. Mary’s Road and Fernwood Avenue, and St. Mary’s Road and West Fernwood Avenue.
In addition, the committee also voted unanimously in favour of adding a brick-and-stone gate at the corner of Portage Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard (pictured above) to the list.
Committee chairman John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) said he’s never seen street pillars or a gate up for nomination before; the committee is more used to dealing with large buildings or single-family homes.
"A lot of these pillars are kind of cool and we want to keep them for generations moving forward. They’re on city land, so really what they’re telling the city is, ‘These are kind of cool, don’t rip them down,’" Orlikow said.
"That’s what they’re saying. So even though they’re just pillars, I do think it is something the committee should be looking at."
The items that got added to the list of historical resources Wednesday will now move onto a second vote at the standing policy committee on property and development.
The committee voted against adding pillars at five locations, after written reports suggested there was no need to. These were two sets of street pillars along Henderson Highway and three sets along Portage Avenue.
However, Orlikow said there is still the possibility these pillars could be added to the city’s commemorative list, which doesn’t offer the same protections as the historical resources list.
"With the commemorative list, we can put resources on there to say, ‘Hey, this thing is cool and here are some things we like about it,’ but there’s no real protection," Orlikow said.
The committee also voted on two unrelated matters Wednesday.
There was unanimous support to push back a vote on the nomination of the Monte Cassino Court building at 639 Portage Ave. until April, granting the city time to do further analysis on the possible historical significance of the property.
The committee also gave the green light to adding the entire Armstrong’s Point neighbourhood to the city’s list of historical resources, which will now pass onto the standing policy committee on property and development for a second vote.
About the street pillars
Three city gates or pillars already have historic designation:
These are the pillars and gates the committee considered Wednesday: