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History of Deer Lodge

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Deer Lodge was part of the City of St. James when it became part of the City of Winnipeg which came into legal existence on January 1, 1972.

The area known today as the neighbourhood of Deer Lodge was some of the earliest attempts at modern residential subdivisions in St. James. Two developments in particular, Oakdale Park centred on Overdale Street and Deer Lodge Place to the west, while not successful initially, did form the basis for later settlement and leave behind roadside markers. [1]

Oakdale Park was set aside in 1903, an ambitious development that included winding streets and an artificial lake. The first attempt failed but it resurfaced in 1911 with the boulevarded Overdale Avenue as its focal point. The subdivision also consisted of streets to the east of Overdale, Winchester and Linwood avenues. At the entrance to each street were rustic stone and cobble-stone pillars, one large pillar built of rounded field stones and one small on each side of the streets.[2] Eventually all but the larger Overdale Avenue pillars were removed. The plan for Deer Lodge Place was finalized in July 1911; a subdivision composed of four north-south streets (Duffield, Sharp Boulevard, Moorgate and Conway) with Sharp Boulevard the wide, principal street. Again, pairs of pillars (2.1 and 0.9 metres in height), this time in cast concrete, were place on each side of the roads in the subdivision. At Sharp Boulevard, the pillars were taller (2.7 metres) and included a deer's head. Several of these pillars were moved east and south to Bruce Park on Portage Avenue.

Despite some initial success, lots in both subdivisions proved impossible to sell because of the cessation of streetcar service in 1914. It would be decades before either subdivision saw significant construction.

[1] R.R. Rostecki, "Pillars of the Community: Roadside Markers in Winnipeg," report for the City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, March 1995.

[2] Ibid. Linwood saw pillars on the west side only because the land developers did not own the east side of the street.