Image: MB Historical Maps on flickr
Now, the Friends of Upper Fort Garry's plan for a park on the site has been approved. Interestingly, a deal has also been done for the gas station land at the north-east corner. Of note is that a gas station has been there since 1925 and that neither that parcel of land, nor the Manitoba Club, were part of Upper Fort Garry in the first place (see map above).
Looking back through Upper Fort Garry Notes I am reminded of David Asper's speech last week in which he accused the city of being all about "too much planning and not enough execution". The city began discussing the expansion of the park around the gate area in the 1930's. It was at one time touted as the site of a new city hall and the closest it came to getting the full treatment: removal of the buildings around it and made a national historic site and park was in 1972 when it was the city's candidate for their Manitoba Centennial project (the library beat it out at the last minute).
For someone who is both a heritage AND downtown advocate this 'victory' is bittersweet. It required the scuttling of the first hi-rise apartment built downtown in three decades to preserve a piece of land we've been humming and hawing over for eight decades.