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Things you might not know about Garbage Hill

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/11/2016 (2087 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Until recently, all I knew about Garbage Hill was its location in Winnipeg’s West End. But then I found out some very interesting things that I wasn’t sure everyone knew.

For example:

It has been called a variety of names, including the Saskatchewan Avenue Dump, The Dump, and Big Green Hill.

Jenny Gates View of the city at sunrise from the top of Garbage Hill.

It was also,  according to Economic Development Winnipeg  “… nicknamed ‘Lil’s Hill’ after Lillian Hallonquist, an alderperson and the chair of the committee charged with finding a solution to the half a century of accumulated trash that made up ‘Garbage Hill’ by 1948.”
It operated as Westview Hill Landfill from 1875 to 1948, and contained primarily ash and glass from the old garbage incinerator on Henry Avenue.

Catherine Macdonald’s 1995 book A City at Leisure explains that when it was converted into a miniature mountain in 1960, it was “… the first of several successful conversions of former landfill sites.”

Westview Park, as it is officially known, is located at 1 Midland St., and is nestled between Saskatchewan Avenue, Empress Street, Wellington Avenue and the railway lines along its eastern border.

As a year-round, multi-use park, it is popular for tobogganing, skiing, snowshoeing, cycling, running and walking.

It is also well-known as an off-leash dog area.

While there are very few trees at the top to offer protection from the weather, that makes Garbage Hill the perfect place to photograph sunrises, sunsets, city views, storms, fireworks, and departures and arrivals at Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.
With a grade of approximately 22 degrees, the southside track is the steepest in the city, and a favourite destination for runners and cyclists seeking a challenging workout.

However, that track is closed until next year so landscaping crews can make much-needed repairs. In order to restore the health and safety of the track, it has been covered with compost, planted with native grass and wildflower seeds, and will reopen when the vegetation has grown in.

Westview Park is open every day from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. but it is closed to vehicular traffic during the winter months. Parking is available at the Midland Street and Wellington Avenue entrances.

Whether you know it as Westview Park, Garbage Hill, or some other name, it’s definitely much more interesting when you know a little bit of its history.

Jenny Gates is a speaker, writer and book editor, and a community correspondent for St. James. Contact her at words@jennygates.com with questions and ideas.

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