Portage la Prairie, MB – The axe is about to fall on a big decision at City Hall.  The City of Portage la Prairie must choose between chopping down trees or having to drop the reference to “prairie” in its name.

The Canadian Council For The Enforcement Of Accurate Place Names, a fresh initiative of the new Liberal government, has informed city council they are out of compliance and must take immediate action on the problem.  Failure to comply could result in stiff penalties including fines, removal from maps and being assigned a more accurate and boring place-name.


In the good old days a prairie was a prairie.

“By definition, a prairie is a flat, treeless area,” said Wendy Bottom, Vice President of Enforcement for the CCEAP.  “We have a clear mandate to make sure place names are not misleading.  There are far too many trees here to be considered a prairie.”

While the CCEAP has no issue with the reference to Portage, it does take a hard-line on the city masquerading as a prairie.

“We understand and acknowledge people have been burdened and carrying stuff here for decades.  But it’s clear by the number of mature trees, this isn’t, and never has been a prairie,” explained Bottom.  “It’s bad enough to portray yourselves as a French town, but your improper anglicized pronunciation will leave no doubt you are not sophisticated enough to be French.”

City Hall will now have to choose between deforestation and a costly name change.  The best option seems to be to start cutting.

“We feel the city should start logging immediately and continue to approve developments like the new oil change place.  That way, they can achieve compliance quicker,” offered Bottom.

Portage la Prairians seem split on the issue.  “I think we have to cut the trees down.  I don’t want to be called a Portager,” said Alex Walters.

“This is ridiculous,” said Mary Hendrix.  “Screw the prairie, I don’t want to lose the trees.  Who the hell wants to live on a prairie?”

“We have no preference other than compliance,” said Bottom.  “Place names must be accurate.  We are currently conducting an investigation in Gladstone to see if the rocks are happy or not.  Oakville will have to meet a quota of oak trees.  High Bluff will have to maintain a minimum height on it’s trees and Edwin will have to have at least two Edwins residing there if they hope to keep their name.”

The timing of the ruling compounds growing civic headaches for City Council as they also must struggle with what to do with the separatist enclave, KoKo Platz (click here to read about KoKo Platz separatism).  The City of Portage la Prairie seems destined to be changed forever.  Sources claim optional names being considered include Portage, Farmville, Crescent Lake City, Terrier Town, The Brown Lagoon, Spudsville, Forage la Forest and Frymakingplace.


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About The Author

Neil Downs

Is a reporter, music-lover, whistle-blower and handy-man? He is a life-long Portage la Prairian and comes to the Hoop and Holler after working at a local potato processor. Neil has been writing at night, in the dark, for over 30 years and has yet to have one word published. We fell in love with Neil’s unique insights on local news and issues. Years of working in a factory setting has allowed him to refine his perspective and explore his conspiracy theories fully. He’ll be a welcome addition to our expanding editorial team. Neil has no friends or family left in the Portage area and feels increasingly isolated so let’s make sure to pass on a warm HnH welcome to him. Now that Neil is writing for a living he will be wasting his free time writing Hollywood screenplays and fantasizing about becoming a successful playwright and winning the lottery. This combined with his natural paranoid state will fuel his general dissatisfaction and frustration with life causing him to withdraw from normal society completely. This will serve the HnH well as he will devote the rest of his days to covering the stories that matter the most to Portage la Prairie.

2 Responses

  1. Linda

    Since nobody is actually portaging anymore, let’s chop that to and look for a new name…but wait a minute, maybe, since we’re so used to a three-word name, it could be Portage to Possibilities. (:

  2. Karen Gross

    I propose we retain the trees and rename PlaP as FlaP: Fromage la Portage. In addition to rhyming, this name would add mystique and allow snobbery of francophone enclaves such as the yard around Eddie Senecal’s house to balance the Koko Platz Separatists with an “Oh yeah? We can pronounce the new name; AND — we know what it means, eh?”


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