Friday, June 19, 2009

Festival of Postcards -2nd Edition - Main Street - Western Canada

Canadian immigration advertisement postcard showing Jasper Avenue,Edmonton, Alberta and Portage Avenue in Winnipeg, Manitoba, swing bridge near Fort William, Ontario [built in 1909] and a wheat field near Clover Bar in Alberta.
Splitback card, unused. No identification on back.

Festival of Postcards -Second Edition
Main Street!

For this Festival, we were to share one or more postcards - ones that touch in some way on the topic of 'Main Street'.

This postcard from about 1910 is an 'unused' one from my collection - it's not a family card. Although it was certainly published to encourage immigration to western Canada's agricultural areas, two views of 'Main Street in Western Canada' are shown - in Edmonton and in Winnipeg. These two photographs emphasize the then busy, modern urban areas of western Canada where industrial and commercial activities supported farmers and farming and provided good transportation and marketing opportunities.

John Obed Smith, who's mentioned on the card, was from England but lived in Manitoba from the early 1880s. From 1908, he was in charge of stimulating emigration to Canada from Europe and worked from London, England till he retired in 1924.

Jasper Avenue in Edmonton is still one of the city's main streets and some of these buildings are still standing. Here we see quite a variety of forms of transportation. Today the city's light rail public transit system runs underneath part of Jasper Avenue, while many buses drive along it.

Portage Avenue in Winnipeg was once (and perhaps still is) the widest main street in Canada, originally to accommodate the passage of groups of Red River carts. Some of the Portage Avenue buildings still stand. My mother lived and worked in Winnipeg as a young woman and talked often to me about her memories of Portage Avenue and the city's downtown area. In later years, she was excited to learn about heritage preservation projects in the city. She agreed with those who say that Portage and Main is the windiest spot in Canada though!

mastermaq's photographs of a 'New Vision for Jasper Avenue' in Edmonton on Flickr.

bryanscott's photographs of Winnipeg's Portage Avenue on Flickr

1 comment:

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

Thanks so much for taking part in A Festival of Postcards and in particular for sharing this postcard.
The opening of Western Canada is an important topic in our Gr.5 curriculum in Quebec so I'll definitely be inviting my students to take a look at this image next Fall.
So thanks for giving me a hand in the classroom!
Evelyn in Montreal