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Lets go to Portage and see the dinosaurs!

Migrating ducks have always returned to our duck pond in the park. Could you imagine the duck pond becoming a magnet that also draws people to our community from all over the province? What our grandparents did not know is that those ducks are descended from dinosaurs!

The duck pond became part of our local culture..We loved our duck pond! In our glory days our present duck pond once sported black and white swans gliding past lily pads. It stood beside a captivating aviary of unusual birds. Peacocks roamed at will. The pond was surrounded by a nice walkway and a pretty fence. A scenic little Japanese bridge crossed it beckoning wedding parties as a romantic setting for photography. The windmill sold ice cream and post cards! Nearby Mike Lemiski had canoes available for rent. That captivating greenhouse was good for a few hours of earthy aromas and plants to be seen nowhere else. By it's door sat a deep pond full of huge Koi, obviously a passion of the park superintendent. A sign said “Do Not Feed the Fish” Nearby also was the subterranean bear pit. There a sign also said 'Do Not Feed the Bears'. We loved the bears too much and killed them with popcorn! It is hard to say good things about the outhouses however unless you wanted to study the life of spiders! But all that charm has slipped away. We recognize that a walk through our peaceful park is an experience that speaks evocatively of being in Portage la Prairie. It is a soulful experience, even our grandparents loved the park, the wooden bridge and the peaceful lake. It was a destination for a picnic and some bird watching. Whatever we decide to do with that pond it deserves to be cleaned up and it's use magnified to the community. It can become another iconic attraction in Portage la Prairie! Take Morden as an example. There the community banded together to amalgamate the existing private fossil collections and formed the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, arguably the largest collection of prehistoric marine fossils in Canada. They now have a feature attraction that delivers much government support and consequently tourist dollars create a waterfall effect there!The 'brass ring' that lures in the tourists is Tylosaurus Pembinensis. This huge water dwelling dinosaur lived in the late Cretaceous period, 45 million years ago, and it was 44-feet long and a fierce predator.

People love dinosaurs, especially children. They frighten and captivate us when we realize they roamed right here in “Portage la Prairie”! Morden at some prehistoric point was on the shore of the great inland sea that was as large as all the great lakes put together. That body of water was the result of the melting glacier that covered much of North America. A sudden influx of sediment, perhaps from the creation of the Rocky Mountains, buried a variety of dinosaurs and that is what is being discovered in Morden. Does Portage have dinosaur beds​? Yes,deep under us! At Stonewall Beach ,a short distance from here, one can see a conspicuous prehistoric beach ridge, now unburied, that ran from the the USA up to Hudsons Bay. Just over at 106 Crescent Road there are great examples of fossils from Stonewall, Manitoba in the foundations that hold up that glorious edifice. I have been thinking of our forlorn duck pond in the park and imagining what it could do for our own tourist trade. Drive over and look at it. You wouldn't get out of the car to see it would you?It seems to be an asset,but one that presently has no value to the community. The pond needs a very big attraction and happily we have the ability to turn it into a community drawing card! It just takes some deep digging! In that reformed and deepened state we could create a cement island in the centre and yearly build on that platform life size dinosaurs in fibreglass. There are many inspiring types to choose from! See the photograph of a success story south of London.

The dinosaur presentation would have enormous popular appeal! ”Lets go to Portage and see the Dinosaurs!”

Eventually we could probably host an animatronic display of dinosaurs, a popular mobile show that has played in many cities, now in Winnipeg.

If we developed our duck pond as a primeval swamp scene with dinosaurs it would be this generations effort to make Island Park even more attractive. Create the Dinosaur Project and one creates the “brass ring' that Portage does not have! Portagers want this to be an exciting place to live and it can be! This winter lets excavate the pond and mold it into a new attraction - “The Dinosaur Swamp”.

If this idea could grow legs (excuse the pun) we could bite our teeth into a new tourist draw. The very building of it would be so much fun and a great opening for education for the whole community. This is a success that we can own!


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