Winnipeg continues using Assiniboine River as garbage dump


Winnipeg is a river city. Founded many moons ago where the Red and the Assiniboine Rivers meet, the prairie city has relied on its waterways for a variety of things over the years — from transportation to recreation, drinking water (sick, right?) to effluent removal. But perhaps the single most enthusiastically embraced purpose of the mighty Assiniboine has been as a receptacle for trash.

On Tuesday, a crew from the Forks-North Portage Partnership Corporation dragged a stretch of the Assiniboine along the north shore of the Best Neighbourhood in Canada, from the Forks to the Osborne Street Bridge. Over the course of the morning, they hauled two barges full of trash from the muddy waters.

“I’m not quite sure what the attraction is to throw garbage into the river,” said Paul Jordan, chief operating officer with the Forks-North Portage Partnership Corp.

I’m not quite sure where Paul Jordan grew up, but perhaps my upbringing in the lovely town of Dawson Creek, B.C., can help shed some light on the appeal of throwing garbage into the river. As a kid, we used to throw all sorts of junk into the creek. Homework, broken GT snow racers, stolen bicycles. My most vivid memory of launching something into the creek involved a stack of Safeway shopping carts and a buddy’s old Nissan. We lined the shopping carts up in front of the car behind the mall, and pointed them at the banks of the creek. Stepping on the gas, we drove straight towards the lip of concrete before hitting the brakes in time to save ourselves, yet propel the carts onward. As they hit that lip of concrete and took flight, it was a thing of beauty. One by one, the carts fell apart, tumbling end over shiny end until they came to rest in the fetid creek waters below.

Back in Winnipeg, though, the CBC published a list of “10 Crazy Things Pulled From Winnipeg’s Assiniboine River” later that afternoon. The list included the following “crazy” things:

  • Wigs
  • Piano
  • Roller Skates
  • Bags of Clothes
  • Keyboard
  • Couches
  • Chairs
  • Air Conditioners
  • More than a dozen shopping carts (fuckin’ rights!)
  • Ice Skates

Pretty decent list, eh? The craziest thing I’ve ever seen floating down the Assiniboine was a large propane tank, which I like to imagine made its way out to the ocean, over all those locks and dams, and will one day house a massive, post-apocalyptic hermit crab.

Go Jets Go!

[original image: canadianlookin/Flickr]

Assiniboine River, garbage, shopping carts, shortcuts,