Manitoba

'Stay tuned' for possible return of Garbage Hill sign, Winnipeg's mayor says

A Hollywood-esque sign was erected by some anonymous artists in September at Westview Park — better known as Garbage Hill — but was taken down a day later by city crews because it went up without official approval.

Short-lived sign was social media sensation and backdrop for many photos before city tore it down

The Garbage Hill sign is captured in a photo before its demise the next day. (Submitted by Ivy Infortuno)

If your Christmas wish is to see a return of the short-lived but enduringly popular Garbage Hill sign, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman says to "stay tuned."

Actually, he said it four times, with a smile, seeming reluctant to say much more.

"I think we need more fun in the city and I thought it was kind of a tongue-in-cheek fun thing to do. So yeah, I'll just say stay tuned," Bowman told CBC Information Radio host Marcy Markusa on Tuesday morning.

The sign, with white letters styled like the iconic Hollywood one in Los Angeles — though much smaller than the 45-foot-tall California ones — was erected on the side of Westview Park in the Polo Park area on Sept. 9.

It immediately became a sensation on social media and was the backdrop for many photos, but city crews swept in with machinery the following day and dismantled it because it did not have official approval.

The identity of the artist who created it was never made public.

The sign was a nod to the more popular name of the hill in the park, which was the site of a landfill from 1875 until 1948, and is now a popular space for dog walkers, joggers and in the winter, tobogganing​.

"It's something that I thought was pretty funny," said Bowman, one of those who took a liking to it.

As much as people wanted it to stay, however, it wouldn't have lasted, Bowman said.

It was built with two two-by-fours mounted into the ground, and the frame was constructed of one-by-one scrap wood. The letters were made out of drywall, which softens and crumbles when exposed to water.

Shortly after the sign was taken down, Bowman said he was willing to talk to the person who created it and maybe get the process going to make a more permanent, and approved, version.

The Hollywood sign was originally created in 1923 and read Hollywoodland, as an advertisement for a real estate development. It was supposed to be taken down after a year and a half but had became famous and remained in place. The 'land' part was later removed to reflect the district, not the specific housing development. (Reed Saxon/Associated Press)

"If they want to reach out to the city, I'd encourage them to do so, and if they want to work through the processes, then I'll certainly do what I can to help," he said.

On Tuesday morning, he dropped some more hints about that possibility.

"I will say that I'm not building it. I'm not personally building a sign, but stay tuned," Bowman said.

"Is someone building it?" Markusa asked.

"You never know. There is a Santa Claus out there," Bowman said.

About the Author

Darren Bernhardt

Reporter/Editor

Darren Bernhardt spent the first dozen years of his journalism career in newspapers, first at the Regina Leader-Post then the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He has been with CBC Manitoba since 2009 and specializes in offbeat and local history stories and features. Story idea? Email: darren.bernhardt@cbc.ca

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