Winnipeg Route 85

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Looking west down Portage Avenue, one of Winnipeg's busiest streets.
Portage and Main as seen from Portage Ave Eastbound

Route 85 is a city route in the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Locally known as Portage Avenue, it runs from the Perimeter Highway (Highways 100/101) to Portage and Main (Route 52).

The route was one of the first and most important roads in Winnipeg. Most of the route is multiplexed with Highway 1/Trans-Canada Highway, and entirely by Yellowhead Highway. At Broadway, Highway 1 bears right. The speed limit along the route is 60 km/h, and 50 km/h in the downtown area. The most notable landmark that it passes by is Portage and Main, playing a major role in Winnipeg's history.

Route 85 is regularly serviced by Winnipeg Transit, and serves as an important connector for the airport and the Polo Park business area.

The origin of the route stems from its use as a part of an old Red River ox cart trail. An excerpt from the book The National Dream by Pierre Berton states regarding the avenue: "The (red river) carts left deep ruts in the soft prairie turf, so deep that the wagons tended to spread out, the right wheel of one cart travelling in the wake of the left wheel of the cart ahead; thus, the prairie trails could be as much as twenty carts wide, a phenomenon that helps explain the many broad streets in Winnipeg. Portage Avenue is the widest thoroughfare in Canada and was known as Queen Street during the period from 1891 to 1893 as part of a failed scheme to introduce a numbering scheme to Winnipeg's streets. It is actually part of the old trail that led west to Portage la Prairie and then on to Edmonton."