Wednesday 21 August 2013

Should the Perimeter Highway be renamed?

How do you feel about the name "Perimeter Highway"? Is it too obvious? Is it getting a little stale? Maybe time for a change?

One blogger is calling for the highway to be renamed in honour of Terry Fox.

As most Manitobans know by now, the national hero was born here in Winnipeg, yet there is very little to signify that. A few years ago there was a movement to rename Wayoata school in Transcona in honour of Terry Fox, but in spite of the word "wayoata" not having any real meaning in any language that anyone was familiar with, the motion was denied.

More recently, a bust of Terry was installed in the Citizens Hall of Fame around the formal gardens in Assiniboine Park. It's easy to miss, but it's something .. I guess.

Some people think that an inconspicuous bust in a corner of a park is not enough -- that a native son as notable as Terry deserves greater recognition. One such fellow who writes under the pseudonym "Purple Rod" at the blog The Purple Rod (you probably could have guessed that) has started a petition to rename the Perimeter Highway after Fox.

Let's name a highway after a Winnipeg-born hero, and the recipient of the Order of Canada: Terry Fox. Despite suffering from Cancer, Terry Fox had a dream to raise money for cancer research, by running a marathon across Canada. He gave his life to help others. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over $500 million has been raised in his name.
Terry Fox never made it to Winnipeg on his Marathon of Hope cross-country run. Had he made it this far, he would not have run on the Perimeter Highway. He would have crossed the Perimeter and run straight through the city to take advantage of maximized fundraising exposure, not to mention the shorter distance. However we can't very well rename Portage Avenue. That would be a hellishly expensive nightmare. The Perimeter highway, by contrast, has few businesses that call it home and therefore few addresses that need to change.

Does it make sense to honour a man who, while being an iconic national hero, spent the majority of his life elsewhere?

Is renaming a road a good way to do that?

Is the Perimeter Highway a good road to rename?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, then you should sign the petition:


Anonymous said...

Perimeter is just fine. Fox's legacy is in Cancer research.

I did have a chance to read his note to the Mayor.

I suggest he capitalize the (M)ayor's title and (H)onorable. Also last sentence in his note sounds like an order.

Anonymous said...

I suggest before anyone gets too carried away that the Fox family be contacted to see if the idea has their support.

By the time the Wayota School issue played out they weren't particularly happy at the game playing and petty politics that went on.

Purple Rod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Purple Rod said...


That story is so bizarre that I actually did not believe you at first. It is shameful that Winnipeg may be the only large Canadian city to not have anything named after Terry Fox.

You would think naming the elementary school he attended would be a no-brainer, especially after they named a Community Center after Jonathan Toews.

Anonymous said...

I also suggest you contact the Terry Fox foundation as well. Cllr Wyatt tried to name a street in a new subdivision after him and they objected, causing this reversal

Anonymous said...

Terry is a great Canadian, but this idea seems inappropriate.

Purple Rod said...

Why does it seem inappropriate to you? I don't mind the fact that you don't agree with this idea, but it is really necessary to criticize my grammar and spelling too?

Anonymous said...

A little touchy purple? If you want the Mayor's help you should at least get the spelling right.

Purple Rod said...

ok then...

unclebob said...

If i were the family I would refuse

Anonymous said...

Purple Rod, My only Anon comment is the second one.

The failed renaming of Wayota School to Terry Fox was the result of internal personal feuding on the school board in 2004/2005 by trustees of the former River East School division trying to dominate and control the former Transcona School District and it's remaining trustees.

(Former Transcona) Trustee Mary Andree (now deceased) raised the issue after she was approached by several residents about it. At the time there was also a fight going on about some playground on the school lot.

The bit about no public consultations was pure bullshit.

No one knew the origins of why the street on which the school was named Wayota.

After much research it seems that some of the street names in Transcona were adopted for no real reason other than they duplicated those of other towns in the north central US where the Great Northern surveyors had done other town plans and street layouts prior to surveying the Transcona townsite.

The only reference I was ever able to find for Wayota was that it appeared to be a word in the Lakota/Ogala/Teton/western Sioux Language.

I don't recall exactly what the US University translation researcher said in her email, but it was something about roughly meaning the outer road/trail or some such in Lakota.

Back at the turn of the 20th century Wayota was indeed way out in the sticks and likely existed as nothing more than a muddy trail out in the bush.

Whatever, it didn't have any more real historical or relevant meaning than Pandora, Regent or a handful of other streets.

The Fox family was well aware of the bullshit that was going on and had no desire to see their name or the Foundations name dragged into some trustee pissing contest.

Terry Fox has already been honoured by the city in 2010 and it wasn't any secret it wasn't easy:

You might be able to get specific info on the feud from Bernice at Metro Winnipeg (MetroBee). I believe she was still covering the school board meetings for the (Free Press owned) Herald back then and spent a huge amount of bored hours listening to the hypocrisy.

Personally I don't care one way or the other, but I can assure you that even though his mom (Betty) has passed away the rest of the family may still carry some sensitivity on some subjects when it involves Wpg.

Purple Rod said...

Well hopefully things are better in the city now, with Katz more willing to give the go-ahead to rename buildings and streets after significant people in our city (i.e. Cindy Klassen, Jonathon Toews, etc.).

It's just hard to believe that renaming a school or street after Terry Fox would cause such a bureaucratic mess. If anyone deserves a road or complex after them, it should be Terry Fox, and not Bill Clement or Duncan Norrie.

Anonymous said...

In Osborne Village we have a gym named after some woman that volunteered for a couple of years MANY years ago. Few knew of her then, even fewer now.

Perhaps rename the gym after him, as the Perimeter will always be The Perimeter imho.

Anonymous said...

Agree Unclebob and Anons. Not an issue to be thrown around. Perhaps remove the petition , ask the family first, then approach City Council with the family's consent in hand. The issue may get more traction.

Anonymous said...

Purple Rod, (My only Anon comment is the second one).

Not to beat a dead horse into the ground but most of Katz's drive to rename buildings is simply as a revenue device for general revenue, and/or to increase his political profile. Same with him handing out "keys" to the city to every Tom, Dick, and Hairy rocker.

The recent "renaming" of a portion of York Avenue near the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was not only a meaningless "honourary" renaming but it was yet one more attempt to promote a cause (the CMHR) involving many promanent people in the local Jewish community.

See picture in article:

I seem to recall that there was plans and approval to name a street in a new development in North Transcona/Kildonan after Mahatma Gandhi along with Bill Blaikie, and I believe Mary Andree the now deceased school trustee I mentioned before who raised the school renaming with the school board.

At the time it irritated me because while I do admire what Mahatma Gandi accomplished, he was an East Indian, and there for felt it was a slap in the face to many of the Red River plains indians.

This because historically the Forks area where the road ends, and the CMHR sit was an area where indians of many tribes and clans, along eventually with the Metis, traded goods and met for many reasons, as a neutral ground.

IOW naming it after one of the many long deceased indians chiefs of the "First Nations" who signed one of the treaties would have been far more appropriate IMHO.

Renaming or designating a street, avenue, highway,road or whatever as "honourary" serves no real purpose AFAIC - other than political pandering.

I suspect that even if there is huge public support for the idea, the "honourary" designation will be the result.

Once again I'm not trying to discourage you, but merely make you aware of the kind of mindless bullshit that goes on in this city when you try and accomplish a simple well meaning task.

Anonymous said...

No. Name a street in a suburb but not the Perimeter. We have enough examples of this naming something and the old name is the one everyone uses. Example, no one refers to the Main/Norwood bridges as Queen Elizabeth way, nor do they refer to the William R Clement parkway. Most still call it the Charleswood Bridge. It will always be known as the Perimeter Highway. Leave it alone.

Purple Rod said...

I give a special thanks to Cherenkov, for starting the ball rolling. It seems many in the media follow this blog, as I was somewhat overwhelmed with interview requests.

The petition goal has been reached, and I thank all who signed it. I will now ask for the Terry Fox Foundations blessing, and I will proceed from there.


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