The leveling of the southwest corner of Portage and Main (almost entire block really, from Portage to Graham) in the late 1970s is one of the great tragedies in Winnipeg’s history. It’s hard to blame the city for allowing it though; the promise of not one but two sexy new skyscrapers was hard to resist. What better way of fast-tracking Winnipeg into the 21st century?
When only one of the proposed towers materialized, Main Street was left scarred, and as today’s photos demonstrate, Main and Graham became a decades-long dead zone.
There is good news though, as it looks like this wrong will soon be righted. A new proposal for the corner looks promising and may finally bring life back to the once great corner.
I rarely talk about equipment on this site but due to the relative shortness of today’s post, it seems as good a time as ever.
I’ve been shooting with a new camera body as of late—a Sony A7ii. Without boring you with details, it’s a full-frame mirrorless system, giving it several advantages over my previous camera body (a Pentax K3). My favorite feature—the one that made me bite the bullet and pick one up—is that practically any lens, from any era and any manufacturer, can be easily adapted to fit the camera. All of a sudden I’ve got a world of lenses at my disposal.
Despite their excellent optics, vintage lenses for older film cameras can be had for cheap. Today’s photos, for instance, were taken with a Vivitar 135mm f2.8 lens—a lens I picked up for around $30, and whose modern-day equivalent would have cost at least $500. Although not as crisp as modern-day lenses, the character and charm of these vintage lenses has completely won me over.
Here’s a look at the interior of the iconic Times Changed High and Lonesome Club (Main Street), which was thankfully saved from the wrecking ball a couple of months ago. More good news: The building that houses the bar, the Fortune Block, will soon be getting the love that it needs in the form of major renovations. This is great news for Winnipeg’s music scene and for Downtown in general.
Sun sets on a warmish day in early January, in and around downtown Winnipeg.
Boy, after eight years of Winnipeg Love Hate it’s become practically impossible to come up with names for these daily posts. Starting today, I’m going to go with a movie theme. Let’s see how long I can make it last.
Usually I try to keep my posts on Winnipeg Love Hate neighborhood specific, but in an effort to catch of on posts, here’s a collection of geographically unrelated photos. For further reading on Ward’s Garage (photo #2), check out this in depth article on Winnipeg Downtown Places.
Main Street, north of Hartford Avenue highlighted by the anachronistic Manitoba Clothing Company.
Every now and then I try to pop into the Neon Factory (Main Street north of Alexander). They make it easy—they open their doors to the public on most Saturdays (at least in the summer)—and it’s definitely worth the trip; with signs from many of Winnipeg’s great institutions including Shanghai and Kelekis restaurants, The Blue Note Cafe, and the Alexandria Hotel, the Neon Factory is as close to a Winnipeg History Museum as this city has got.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a true object d’art—in terms of architecture, likely the best example in the city. However, the building is rarely photographed as a building within the context of the city. Typical photos of the building place it as a stand-alone object with little-to-no environmental context or as the oddly disproportionate foreground of Winnipeg’s skyline.
In these photos I’ve attempted to place the building within the context of the browns and beiges of Downtown’s South Portage neighborhood. When viewed from these angles, the enormous scale of the building is magnified, as is the outlandish (in a good way) design. It’s truly a building like no other in Winnipeg.