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MHS Resources: History in Portage la Prairie Street Names

by Luke Reichelt
Portage la Prairie, Manitoba

Some street names in the City of Portage la Prairie commemorate historical events and personalities. There are corresponding lists for the City of Winnipeg and the City of Brandon.


Street name

Notes

Source(s)

Alexander Avenue

Named after a local pioneer character. His grave can be found at the Hillside Cemetery.

Brian Barrett

Alfred Avenue

Unknown

 

Alison Avenue

Unknown

 

Angle Road

Named for its angled orientation; located on the old railroad bed that led to Minneapolis, Minnesota

Brian Barrett

Armstrong Street

Named for George P. Armstrong, a local physician who once served at the Portage General Hospital

Collier, page 152

Astbury Bay

Named for Charles Astbury, owner of the Iron Works on Tupper Street North after 1935. He served on the Portage City Council during the 1940s.

 

Berkley Avenue

Named for the fishing supply company built on the street.

 

Brandon Avenue

Named for the City of Brandon.

Brian Barrett

Bridge Road

This road ran through Koko Platz to the bridge over the Assiniboine River to CFB Southport.

 

Brookside Creek

Named for its location next to Garrioch Creek.

 

Brown Bay

Adam Brown brought the first cars to Portage La Prairie. C.Brown was a councillor at the end of the 1800’s. James, Edward, and Adam Brown owned the Portage Stock Exchanged, with a string of trotting horses, Carriage sales, and large implement yard (S.-Collier pg 84). Edward Brown was the first mayor of the city of PLP 1903-1908.

Collier, pages 88, 305

Burns Bay

Name for W. H. Burns, who was Mayor of Portage la Prairie from 1921 to 1930.

Collier, page 305

Cadham Bay

Named for J. O. Cadham, who owned Cadham Hardware in the early 20th century.

Collier, page 60

Caithness Street

Named for an early territorial possession.

Brian Barrett

Caledonia Street

Named for an early territorial possession.

Brian Barrett

Cambridge Street

Named after the city of Cambridge, UK.

Brian Barrett

Campbell Place

Possibly named after Douglas Campbell, a former Portager with a long history in Manitoban politics, including time as Premier of Manitoba and as an MLA.

Collier, pages 257 and 308

Cedar Bay

Named after the tree.

 

Charlton Avenue

This street may be named for W. B. Charlton, an early land owner in this area. Alternatively, it may commemorate Joseph Thomas Charlton (1860-?), a member of the city council from 1902 to 1903, or his son Roy Seymour Charlton (1888-?), the youngest professional hockey player in western Canada.

Collier, page 216; Matt Heintz

Cochrane Street

Named after Archdeacon William Cockran, who essentially founded Portage la Prairie as a community. He first came to the area in 1851, aided by numerous other parishioners. His first task was to build a church named St. Mary’s. A school was also constructed, and the archdeacon was instrumental in ensuring the survival of early Portagers, especially through floods and disease. He died in 1865, aged 70.

Collier, pages 28 to 30

Countess Avenue

Named in honour of the British Royal Family.

 

Crescent Road

Named after the nearby oxbow lake. The lake itself was part of the Assiniboine River in the past. Formerly known as River Avenue.

 

Crestview Place

A modern generic name.

 

Dickens Avenue

Apparently named after British writer Charles Dickens, best known for such novels as Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities.

Les Green

Dufferin Avenue

Named for Lord Dufferin, Governor General of Canada from 1872 to 1878. He has the distinction of being the first Governor General to visit the province. A statue of Dufferin exists outside the Legislature in Winnipeg.

 

Duke Avenue

Named in honour of the British Royal Navy, chosen between 1890 and 1910.

Brian Barrett

East Road (Peony Farm)

Named for its location during a land survey.

 

Elm Avenue

Named for the tree.

 

Estate Street

Named for the Mobile Home Park “Estate” in the area.

 

Fisher Avenue

Possibly named after Lord Fisher, a well-known Admiral in the British Royal Navy. Previously known as Alice Avenue, a name of unknown origin.

Brian Barrett

Garrioch Park Drive

Named after parishioners William, John, and Gavin Garrioch. Along with Archdeacon Cockran, they are considered founders of the city.

 

George Hill Drive

Named after local business owner George K. Hill. Among the businesses owned by Hill were the Merchants Hotel and the Hill’s West Drug Store. He was a member of the local Lion’s Club.

Collier, pages 176, 271, 277

Gigot Avenue

Named after the owner of the local Hudson’s Bay Company shop. According to popular legend, Gigot got his surveyors drunk at a party. The result was that the road was built on an angle.

Les Green

Goodale Drive

Named after a dairy farmer who lived in the area.

 

Hazel Bay

Named for the tree.

 

Henderson Drive

Several possibilities exist for the basis of this name. One is that it commemorates former mayor and minister of First Presbyterian Church, Rev. H. L. Henderson. Another is that it is named for Peter Henderson, one of the city founders. Yet another possibility is that it is named after William Henderson, who founded J & W Henderson Hardware Store on Main Street.

Collier, pages 30, 60 305

Home Street

Named after the Mobile “Home” Park Estates, located in the area.

Brian Barrett

Howie Avenue

Named after Matthew Howie, a pioneer in the Jackson district of rural Portage la Prairie.

Collier, page 348; Brian Barrett

Ireland Crescent

Named after former mayor Horace A. Ireland, who served from 1938 to 1943.

Collier, page 305

Jack Cavers Place

Named for John A. “Jack” Cavers, Mayor of Portage la Prairie from 1944 to 1945. Prior to that, he served as a city alderman from 1939 to 1943.

Collier, page 305

Keith Street

Named after Keith Bowes, owner of a trailer park located east of the city.

Les Green

Kelly Street

Named after a local boy who died from unknown causes. The boy’s father worked for the contractor at the time, and dedicated the street’s name to his late son.

Les Green

King Avenue

Named in honour of the British Royal Family.

 

LaVerendrye Crescent

Named after 17th century explorer, cartographer, and fur trader Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Verendrye. He constructed several forts in the area of what is now Portage la Prairie, most notably Fort de la Reine. The fort was either dismantled or abandoned at some point, and a second one was constructed in 1739. In a certain way, la Verendrye could be considered the founder of Portage la Prairie. Because of this contribution to the city, a school is now named after him.

Collier, page 26

Lincoln Avenue (Peony Farm)

Possibly named after US President Abraham Lincoln.

Brian Barrett

Lorne Avenue

Named for the Marquis of Lorne (also known as the Duke of Argyle and John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell). He served as Canada’s Governor General from 1878 to 1883. The royal couple visited Manitoba in 1881 and were also the basis for the names of Winnipeg streets Argyle, Louise, Lorne, and Princess, and the Louise Bridge. Originally known as First Avenue, Arthur Avenue, and Assiniboine Avenue.

 

Macdonald Street

Quite possibly named after Sir John A. Macdonald, first Prime minister of Canada.

 

Maplewood Crescent

Named for the tree. A contemporary generic name.

 

Massey Crescent

Named after the Massey Company, which manufactured farm equipment. It later merged with A. Harris, Son and Company.

 

McCain Avenue

Named after McCain Foods, Inc., which owns a potato processing plant on the street.

 

McKay Street

Possibly named after J. D. McKay, owner of the Hudson’s Bay Company store at the “Old Fort” located in what is now Portage la Prairie. McKay was, at one point, attacked and bound up by members of the Red River Resistance, who later looted his store. However, the Resistance members were only interested in taking provisions, and they later untied him.

Collier, page 24

Meighen Avenue

Named after Arthur Meighen, Prime Minister of Canada from 1920 to 1921, and for a few months in 1926. Meighen lived in Portage la Prairie between 1902 and 1908, where he studied law. A middle school in Portage is named after him.

Collier, page 243

Melville Avenue

Apparently named for Herman Melville, best known as the author of Moby Dick.

 

Midland Street

Given this name as the centre of the North End area.

 

Oak Bay

Named for the tree.

 

Old Bridge Road

Named for a bridge that was once located next to the street.

 

Oxford Drive

Possibly named after the city of Oxford, UK.

 

Park Drive

Named for its close proximity to a park.

 

Pelechaty Street

Named after John “Jack” Pelechaty, a butcher in Portage la Prairie.

 

Peony Bay (Peony Farm)

Formerly the location of a peony farm owned by the Wilson family. In addition to peonies, the Wilsons also grew gladiolas. The flowers were shipped to Winnipeg and other cities by rail.

 

Peters Street (Peony Farm)

Named after a landowner in the area.

 

Phillips Street

Named after Phillips Cable, a business formerly located on the street.

 

Phoebe Street

Named after Phoebe Christianson, the wife of Conrad Christianson, one of the founders of Koko Platz Development Ltd. The area that Christianson and his brothers developed is now called Koko Platz, a name of unknown origin.

 

Pine Crescent

Named for the tree.

 

Poplar Bay

Named for the tree.

 

Portage Avenue

Named for the city, which in turn is taken from a French word that refers to carrying one’s canoe over long distances.

 

Prince Avenue

Named in honour of the British aristocracy.

 

Princess Avenue

Named in honour of the British aristocracy.

 

Prout Drive

Named after John W. Prout, a farmer who owned a seed shop on Saskatchewan Avenue. Prout and his family grew their seeds on their farm property and sold them locally at the shop.

George Ferguson, Linda Christianson

Queen Avenue

Named in honour of the British aristocracy. Formerly known as Mary Avenue.

 

Radisson Avenue

Named after explorer and fur trader Pierre-Espirit Radisson.

 

River Road

Named for its proximity to the Assiniboine River.

 

Roe Street

Named after Tommy Roe, who once owned the area now known as Koko Platz. He obtained the property in a tax sale. Afterwards, he turned a small part of the area into, basically, a salvage centre.

Collier, page 295

Royal Road

Named in honour of the British aristocracy. Originally known as Campbell Street, it was renamed in 1939 when King George V and Queen Elizabeth visited the city.

 

Saskatchewan Avenue

Most likely named after the Saskatchewan Trail, but the actual origin of the name is unknown.

 

Scanlan Avenue

Unknown

 

Scott Avenue

Named for Thomas Scott, who was executed by members of the Red River Resistance.

 

Seneca Street

Either named for a First Nation or the plant.

 

Sissons Drive

Named after farmer Thomas Sissons, who first moved to Portage la Prairie in 1871. The land that he settled has been farmed by his descendants ever since.

Collier, page 317

Spruce Bay

Named for the tree.

 

Stanley Avenue

Named after explorer Henry Morton Stanley, best known for locating David Livingstone, who was living in Africa at the time.

 

Stephens Avenue

Named after Henry Stephens, who owned several important properties, including the Portage Hotel. He later declared bankruptcy and, soon after, suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

Les Green

Strathcona Road

Likely named for Lord Strathcona (Donald Alexander Smith), a major figure in Manitoba politics.

 

Sunset Drive

Named for its westward location.

 

Thackery Avenue

Named after British writer William M. Thackeray, best known for his satirical novels, most notably Vanity Fair.

Brian Barrett

Trenton Avenue

Also known as Trent Avenue. The basis of the name is unknown.

 

Tupper Street

Named after Sir Charles Tupper, Prime Minister of Canada for two months in 1896. His term is considered the shortest of any Prime Minister.

 

Victoria Avenue

Named for Queen Victoria.

 

Webster Avenue

Named for local magistrate R. W. Webster.

Collier, page 233

Westco Drive

Named for Westco Industries, a firm located on the site that manufactured farming equipment.

 

Wilkinson Crescent

Named after George Wilkinson, the owner of a farm in what is now the Koko Platz region of the city.

Shirley Christianson

Willow Bay

Named for the tree.

 

Wilson Street (Peony Farm)

Named for the family that owned the peony farm located on the street.

George Ferguson

Yellowquill Drive

Named for Chief Yellowquill, an Aboriginal chief who lived in the area.

Collier, page 3

Street Name Changes

Some street names in Portage were changed by Bylaw 619. Most of these streets were named after the families (F) that owned the land. Others are named after businesses (B), institutions (I) or cities (C), royalty (R), and the rest are of generic (G) or unknown (U) origin.

Former Name

Type

Current Name

Portage Street

C

15th Street NW

Brydges Street

F

14th Street NW

Drummond Street

F

13th Street NW

Edward Street

U

12th Street NW

Ross Street

F

11th Street NW

Curtis Street

F

10th Street NW

Syndicate Street

B

9th Street NW

Ottawa Street

C

8th Street NW

Toronto Street

C

7th Street NW

McGill Street

I

6th Street NW

Haggerty Street

F

5th Street NW

Depot Street

B

4th Street NW

McLenaghan Street

F

3rd Street NW

Anne Street

F

2nd Street NW

Elizabeth Street

F

1st Street NW

Campbell Street

F

1st Street NE

Gaddy Street

F

2nd Street NE

Main Street

G

3rd Street NE

Garland Street

F

4th Street NE

Broadway Street

G

5th Street NE

Lyon Street

F

6th Street NE

Pratt Street

F

7th Street NE

Manning Street

U

8th Street NE

Butler Street

F

9th Street NE

Rosser Street

U

10th Street NE

Norquay Street

I

11th Street NE

Percival Street

F

12th Street NE

Forbes Street

F

13th Street NE

Lee Street

F

14th Street NE

Baker Street

U

 

Jeff Street

U

 

Francis Street

U

 

Albert Street

U

 

Sources:

1. History of Portage la Prairie by Anne M. Collier, Portage la Prairie, 1970.

We thank Les Green and Matt Heintz for providing additional information used here.

Page revised: 5 November 2013

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