Portage and Main
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Portage and Main is an intersection in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is located in the centre of downtown Winnipeg at the place where Portage Avenue (Route 85) and Main Street (Route 52) intersect. The corner is well-known across Canada.
Portage and Main is the hub of some of Winnipeg's main transportation routes. It was once the centre for the banking industry in Western Canada. The national banks have branches accessible from beneath Portage and Main. It has served as a temporary city square and meeting place for parades and events, including the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. More recently, it has served as an anchor point for occasional street festivals and the winter lighting of holiday street decorations.
In 1976, the City of Winnipeg signed an agreement with private developers to open an underground concourse linking shopping malls under the four corner properties. This included a 50-year deal to permanently close the pedestrian crossings at the intersection, which street works were completed around 1978. The concourse and walkways are connected through the Winnipeg Skywalk. The Portage and Main Circus houses a concrete sculptural wall created by Bruce Head.
Portage and Main is the brunt of popular jokes referring to it as the coldest and windiest intersection in Canada. The phrase Portage and Main has come to refer to the city of Winnipeg as a whole. The long-standing cold weather legend is unproven, because there are no official temperature measurements at any street corner in Canada to confirm the coldest intersection. Winnipeg's city centre is usually 3–4°C warmer than the airport, owing to the urban heat island effect. The lowest reading at the airport was −45.0°C on 18 February 1966.
There are numerous cultural references to the intersection, including the 1992 Randy Bachman and Neil Young hit song “Prairie Town”, with the chorus repeating the line “Portage and Main, 50 below”. The British band Blurt have a song named “Portage & Main” on their album Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hit. It is also the setting for the Stompin' Tom Connors song "Red River Jane". The intersection is also featured as a property on the Canadian Monopoly board.
- Winnipeg Square
- "The city agrees that it will not consent to any application for the construction of a pedestrian crossing over or under any street, avenue or other roadway within that portion of the city [within a block of Portage and Main] unless the applicant for such a crossing provides a direct connection between the proposed crossing and the Concourse." Agreement quoted in Consideration of the Report of the Committee on Works and Operations, December 16, 1976, p 290.
- maps at Winnipeg Square and at MTS Centre
- Bruce Head's biography at Ken Segal Gallery
- Winnipeg Richardson Intl'l Airport, Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000, Environment Canada website. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
- "Things you might not know about Portage and Main". CBC News. June 1, 2012.