Thursday, 21 April 2011

April 9, 2011 - The Arlington Bridge

The Arlington Bridge - photo credit Bryan Scott

Winnipegers are funny people. I'll likely explore this ad nauseam over the coming posts, but really - they're funny. Not funny "ha-ha" more like funny "particular" with the way they like to endorse areas of the city, and take a lot of pride in their neighbourhoods. People from West Broadway are supposedly welfare cases and new home owners, River Heights residents are snooty, and Wolseley (where I was staying at the time of this run) is the granola belt, hippyville, mature neighbourhood of the Peg. This observation is merely a side note to this day's run and exploration, but I find whenever I talk to Peggites about this town, they're much quicker to point out they live in the West End or South Osbourne, before the street they live on.

Which brings me to Arlington Street, and the Arlington Bridge.

When I moved to Winnipeg in January, the place I stayed for the first month was on Arlington, in the heart of Wolseley, just south of the main artery here - Portage Avenue. Also, for all you "rest of Canadians", it's pronounced Port-AHge, not Por-tAWge, as the Quebecers would say. You'll get laughed at for that pronunciation, trust me.
Anyways, Arlington starts in the heart of Wolseley as you can see on the map. Speaking of which, I'm going to try and include a map every blog post to show the areas of the run, plus photos. Not sure I can completely recreate the run, but I'll try.

I started on a Saturday afternoon after the weather started to turn to the happy side of 0 degrees. I had seen that north on Arlington there was a bridge over the massive CN rail yards on the north end of Winnipeg. Just like Portage is a mental barricade for a lot of Winnipeg to cross, the rail yards are a physical barricade to they "not so best part" of the city. Basically, a lot of the north end is a rough part of town.. at least, my impression of it.

Heading straight north on Arlington I first hit Portage, then Ellice as two of the main streets. Once past Elice, you hit Sargent, which honestly - is the furthest north I had ever gone on foot in Winnipeg. While I expected the neighbourhoods to be markedly shittier, they weren't at first glance. Some of the people on the street could have just as easily been in Woolsley or West Broadway. The street starts to bend - pretty much like every street in Winnipeg... this will be a common theme in these blogs. Then I kept going north past Notre Dame and on to the bridge.

Looking north along the bridge. Pardon the finger on the left.
The bridge itself is kind of interesting. Covered in chain link fence and pigeon shit, it's a one lane, each way bridge that even has a set of traffic lights on the top to control traffic. The view though, is something else. It really feels like you're right on top of the city of Winnipeg. Miles and miles of trains, the downtown core in the distance, and row upon row of post-war housing in this area. Really something to see.
I'm truly starting to fall in love with this city. It feels so much more big city than my hometown of Edmonton, regardless of it having 2/3 the population. Business and residents are smashed together in a hodge-podge kind of way as it's not out of the ordinary to see a shoe repair shop or organic market, sandwiched between two houses on a not so busy street. Along the way on Arlington street, there's everything from a friend chicken place, a mechanic and a pho soup joint - parsed in between residences.

Looking west
The run back was pretty much an exact replica of the run there. Sometimes I like to "get lost" (I do that a lot for fun and exploration sake) but this one was a chance for me to pick up some pace and speed and try and get the 10K run done in under an hour. I got back to the house I was staying at with 4 minutes to spare.

Ipod: Sklarboro Country, Episode 37 with Howard Kremer
Temperature: +4C
Distance 9.8Km
Time: 56 mins

Next run - St. Boniface.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you.
    My Great Great Grandfather, Winnipeg Controller Archibald McArthur spearheaded the building of the Arlington Street Bridge.
    I am always fascinated to see new pictures, and viewpoints, of this controversial bridge.