by Karen Gross

Mystery of the Disappearing Street

It is true, fellow Portage la Prairians. We have a full fledged, bonafide mystery on our hands, or technically, on our streets.

Some time ago, whilst walking down Crescent Road West, I noticed that there is a missing street! (Was that a gasp I just heard from the readers?) I could tell, because as my fellow Portageites know, our downtown streets are numbered. Not numbered as in ‘our days are numbered’, because streets last quite a long time. I mean numbered, numerically, in a grid pattern, so we are not supposed to get lost. I get lost anyways, because I am geographically challenged, but that is another topic for another day.


As I was saying before I so rudely interrupted you, I noticed a missing street. From my house on 18th Street southwest, I was walking (with my poles, that’s in another blog), and I passed 17th, 16th, and 15th, and then 13th Street. If you are still reading this, you may have noticed that 14th Street Southwest is missing. Gone. Vanished, as though it had never been there.


Now, I know that there are buildings that have no thirteenth floor. Apparently that number carries a superstition, like maybe the building will implode if they put in a thirteenth floor. But that is just a trick with the numbers – they didn’t actually remove the thirteenth floor. They just named it fourteen instead. So anyone who is superstitious enough to not want to live or work on the thirteenth floor will not be mollified with a nitwitted trick like that. If you put them on the fourteenth floor, whatever would have happened to their luck by being on the thirteenth floor will happen anyway. They just won’t have the number 13 in their address. That reminds me that when Hubby and I first moved to Portage, we had a post office box, with the number 1313. Doubly unlucky! You could say our luck improved when we moved into town, because when our mailing address was Box 1313, we had to go to the post office to get our mail. Now that we live on 18th Street, our mail comes right to our home. That is lucky, isn’t it?

Back to the mysteIMG_0126ry.  We do have a 13th Street SW, but 14th is missing. The people in the north west quadrant of downtown Portage have a 14th Street, but those of us in the south west quadrant do not. Maybe it is not a mystery, perchance it is some sort of geographical discrimination, like we in the south are not good enough to get a 14th Street. Well excuse me for living on the wrong side of Saskatchewan Avenue. We don’t deserve consistently enumerated streets here in the southwest.

Okay, there is no real mystery here. If you look on the map, you will see that the lovely town of Portage la Prairie had been built along the gracefully meandering curves of Crescent Lake. Whoever designed this town made some pie shaped blocks in order to try to straighten up this town. Then a gargantuan, pie eating monster came through and gobbled up 14th Street SW. My condolences if you had any friends or relatives living there.


Editors note:  The Southwest also has an “extra” street between 7th and 8th.  Rather than calling it 7.5th street they gave it the name Cochrane Street.  It’s a Portage thing.

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