Tag Archives: portage and main

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More from our Portage and Main Staycation. These are from the net morning.

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While having some work done at home that required being out of the house for 24 hours, my wife and I decided to have some fun with the situation. So together with our daughter, we booked a room at The Fairmont. You only live once right?

Feeling like a tourist in my own town, I must say it was a surreal experience. The new perspective on Portage and Main really drove home the dichotomy of the famous intersection: the hustle and bustle of Downtown life—the constant hum of traffic, sirens, random human noises— intertwined with the dehumanizing, lifeless concrete barriers that have been keeping people away for over 30 years. So while it was excitng to spend a night amongst the skyscrapers, our Portage and Main staycation was a sobering, humbling experience.

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Ah, life at Portage and Main, the barricaded heart of the city. In the first shot, a young couple—likely tourists—try to cross the intersection, perhaps unaware of the underground concourse. Meanwhile, in the second photo, a squeegee guy proves that where there’s a will there’s a way.

It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure I’ve ranted on this website about how embarrassing the barricades at Portage and Main are. They’re a relic of 1960s city planning that puts the automobile before the human being, turning the intersection into a makeshift freeway designed to usher people through downtown rather than bring them to—and keep them—downtown. They’re a giant fuck-you to pedestrians, forcing people underground like Morlocks, down dark and cavernous stairways into a rat’s maze of sickening 1970s oranges and browns. In the process, they ensure that life above ground ceases to exist, deadening not just the intersection itself, but its surroundings as well.

But now that the city’s newest mayor has been sworn into office, all of this may change. One of Brian Bowman’s campaign promises was to ensure that the intersection would once again open to pedestrians when the contract to keep it closed expires in 2019. If this is going to happen, planning for that day has to start now—a new design isn’t rocket science, but these things do take time. Bowman’s actions in the coming months on Portage and Main will be quite telling. Will he provide the change at city hall that his campaign promised? If planning for a new Portage and Main begins soon, then perhaps he will.

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Looking south from Main and Bannatyne. I love shooting in wild weather, and this summer has provided some pretty great opportunities.  These ones were taken during a sunny patch on a stormy day back in May.

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Up close and personal with the cold concrete at Portage & Main, the heart and soul of our city.

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13301304004_ec32038db3_bhydroDonald Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba.Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Some more Portage Avenue dusk shots. From the top: A general eastward view down Portage Avenue; a couple of shots of Manitoba Hydro (built 2008); Metropolitan Theatre (Donald Street, built 1991, renovated 2013), looking good, but in dire need of a marquee; and the Air Canada Building (Portage and Smith, built 1985).

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Portage Avenue. Dusk. A warm, later winter night. The top four shots are looking east towards Portage and Main from Donald; Bottom shot, of course, is the MTS Centre.

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Ever notice how the streets are always wet in the movies—even when there isn’t a cloud in the sky? Wet streets are beautiful, especially when the sun is shining, and when these conditions arise, I do everything I can to get out and shoot. The Spring melt is often such an occasion.

From the top: Looking towards Portage and Main from Garry and Notre Dame; looking west down Bannatyne across Main Street; looking south down Main from Bannatyne; the Canadian Wheat Board (Main Street, originally constructed 1929 with additions done in the 60s)’ an alley near McDermot and Princess; and a look towards Red River College down Adelaide Street.

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Some photos from various spots around Downtown. These are all previously unedited shots from 2009. From the top: Looking towards Portage and Main on McDermot, The two giants of Portage and Main, and Ragpickers on McDermot. I was very sad to see the last one close their doors over the past year.

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Two previously unedited photos from 2008. Esplanade Riel (built 2004): At the time, I was more interested in capturing the entirety of the bridge, and I chose to work with some of those wider shots. Looking back now, I see that I overlooked this detail shot (especially now that Sal’s is gone from the bridge). Richardson Building (Portage and Main, built 1969): Not sure why I didn’t do anything with this back in 2008. I suspect it was because I couldn’t do anything with the colour balance with the software I was using at the time. Lightroom and Photoshop just keep getting better and better—and that’s part of the reason I like to revisit these old photos.

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Portage and Main. An early snowfall of the winter of 2013/2014.

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Every time I go to a Goldeyes game (once or twice a season), I’m sure to bring my camera along; one of my favorite views of the city is from the ballpark. Highlights, of course, include the wide angle view of the skyline as well as a nice perspective on the Canadian Museum For Human Rights (with an expected opening date of 2014).

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Wet streets at dusk—one of my favorite environments to shoot in. From the top: The Fairmont Hotel (Lombard Place, built 1965); Edmonton and Graham; Portage Place (Portage Avenue, built 1987); and a couple of shots of The Royal Winnipeg Ballet (Graham Avenue, built 1988).

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Portage and Main. Well, it took almost 35 years but there’s finally some action on the site of the old McIntyre Building (and what is now most certainly the most embarrassing of many embarrassing surface parking lots in the city). A new hotel highrise will allegedly be going up on this site, but frankly, I’d be happy with a Robin’s Donuts.

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Some of you might have noticed that my recent photos look a bit different from my older ones. These recent photos were all shot with my backup camera—a Sony RX100—as my regular camera (Pentax K5) was in the shop being repaired for almost two months. The RX100 is a little miracle worker. Amazing image quality, great colour rendering, and incredible detail in low-light situations. The best part: It’s literally a pocket camera that will fit inside almost any jacket pocket, or even a jeans pocket. These days I pretty much bring the RX100 with me everywhere I go. I’d been waiting years for a camera with this kind of mage quality and portability. Amazing little camera.

These photos were taken in early April—tail end of the Neverendingwinter. From the top: The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (expected opening, 2014); a shot of the skyline from off Westbrook Avenue; The Buhler Welcome Center (The Forks); and the Inn at The Forks.

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