The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

June 15, 2007





Below, folks, is what we in Canada's Gateway City to the West call Confusion Corner, back in the 50s or something, obviously in the dead of a Winnipeg winter.

Is it any wonder I am so all over the place and seem lost at times?

The picture below is it, more or less, today...although the mass of streets all intersecting at one spot is so great, they couldn't get them all in the shot. I hope you get the point.

Or maybe you're confused?

I could not find much on the Internet, and certainly not on the City of Winnipeg website -- what city would really want to admit to creating such a mess? -- but this place does exist.

It is purported to have the largest number of street signs of any intersection of any sizeable city in the world.

I could not find that figure but I believe it's something like 249 traffic signs.

If you were some unfortunate sod visiting for the first time from out of town, could you figure out the sign above? That, more or less, is Confusion Corner.

It's so renowned here in our city of some 800,000 people that some smart-ass entrepreneur built a restaurant called -- ha ha, you guessed it -- Confusion Corner right there!

I've never been there...couldn't find it. OK, I could find it...but I just couldn't park anywhere within three miles to go to it.

As I hear it, the waitresses and waiters are so disoriented they all bump into each other and the drink orders and the food orders always seem to get mixed up or brought to the wrong tables.

You'd think the tips would be small as a result, but patrons apparently lose their equilibrium. When they can find their wallets, they leave $20 bills when they really mean to leave $10's.

Now Winnipeg, in many ways, is a beautiful city. We have The Forks at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.

We have Assiniboine Park, a wide expanse of nature I've not seen any city match. We have the Corydon Strip, a funky place with great bars and nightlife. Same with the Osborne Street Village.

Outside the city, you can travel in any direction and be at some of the greatest sand beaches or freshwater lakes in the world.

But our so-called city planners couldn't find their feet if they sent out a search party. I'm sure there's some very complicated reason for the need for Confusion Corner to exist.

Screw that.

Maybe this was the city planning department's version of playing a big joke on us Winnipeggers, to force us to traverse, every day, such a huge hurdle mimicking life's struggles.

Which way to go about this relationship or that? How do I get from here to there? Which path should I take? There are always other roads branching off in other directions.

Do you have a famous intersection in your city or town that is an absolute nightmare to navigate? Do you have your own Confusion Corner or Mission Impossible that mirrors life?


  1. I went to college in Missoula, MT. We had our own version of Confusion Corner, called Malfunction Junction.

    Missoula only has a population of around 65,000, so it isn't quite the cluster **** that Confusion Corner no doubt is, but it still serves the same purpose; to befuddle all those who travel there.

  2. Too bad the photos are so tiny (except the first one). I took a good look at the first one because I love old photos, but I figure it was taken in the mid to late '60s because there's what looks like a Camaro crossing the intersection in front. I'm just surprised so many older cars made it through so many Winterpeg winters! :)

    Seriously, though, if we had to relocate east if BC, my first choices of cities in Canada (mostly from reputation as I haven't travelled that much in Canada) would be Winnipeg and Montreal. But I'd want to hit Mexico every winter!

  3. You would hope the aerial photo would clear everything up. It think it is worse from the Air... UG.

    Canadian and Australian humour is very similar, the cafe could be run by Ausies Confusion Corner:) love it.

  4. I can't say I've ever seen anything quite so confusing, except maybe that CAT scan I had done...

  5. Laurie:

    Well, Miss Oula, I'll see your Malfunction Junction with my Confusion Corner and raise you a Flood of the Century and a March 1966 snowstorm.

    Beat that! (*Wobbles away in various directions, befuddled and cluster****ed.


    I know...I wonder if I could have made the pix bigger. I don't think the cold hurts our cars as much as the salt they put down on the slippery roads.

    I think your choice of cities is great...Winnipeg's very cosmopolitan and cultural, I suspect you'd like it here.



    Thanks Mate. I suspect we would have some similar humour...


    Oh, do post a pic of your CAT scan...we could call it Stace's State of ????

  6. As someone who once got lost driving in Arizona (where the city is mapped out sooooo neatly), that looks like a nightmare.

  7. In far north Phoenix, we have the roundabouts at the I-17 and Happy Valley Road exit ramps. These were installed about 10 years ago when that area was into year 5 of explosive growth. The stop signs at this formerly used corner were horribly antiquated and backups were becoming more and more frequent.

    Problem is, the bridge over the freewas is only 2 lanes wide (one lane in each direction.

    Enter the traffic circles. Ideally, one only has to stop until it is safe to enter. And once you enter, you DON'T stop. I often get stuck behind some out-of-towner who stops at every entry/exit point.

    We live nearby so we pass through area often. It's part of Q's daily commute and I drive through there at least once a week. The simple right turns aren't too bad, but I have to do some mental planning whenever I have to turn left or go straight.

    Here's the sign you encounter upon entering the roundabout. Study it hard and know it well. Because if you get in the wrong lane, you'll have to circle the loop again.

  8. I'll call with the flood of a millenium in not one but two basements, June 2007, and raise with one July 5, 1970 snowstorm. It was 80 F when I flew out of Denver (do your own conversion, Canuck boy), and 30 F when I landed in Billings.

    I was wearing shorts, mind you so I think that ups the ante.

    Beat that if you can. If not, read 'em and weep!

    This is poker, right? (*wanders away with a dazed and confused look upon her face*)

  9. it's first right second left then straight on for a bit then right again then immediately left and then you're there - OK?

  10. HA!
    I suppose that it is quite fitting that I live a mere 5 minutes away from Confusion Corner.

    The city just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new signage but still hasn't put them up..that will prolly take a few more committees and in the end they will decide to hang them upsidefrickin down anyway.

    What is the point? Out streets could have been designed by a hallucinating proctologist on magic mushrooms because it is a byzantine mishmash of nonsensical makegood roads to's a very hard city for residents and visitors to navigate. A vehicular GPS guide is useless would simply overheat and smolder in the dash, like having a compass at the North Pole.

    WHY? Because there was no plan for this entire city and it just happened.
    Whateverpeg streets are designed to encourage travellers to leave at the first available opportunity out of sheer frustration. For residents trapped here the abscence of modern traffic flow technology and repetitive endless repairs to every single major artery every f*cking spring and being the auto theft capital of Canada is enough to make you
    C R A Z Y!!!

  11. Anonymous5:11 p.m.

    Good morning/evening,

    I like the sound of Confusion Corner.

    I always like the picture of the Magic Roundabout in Swindon UK, however living in Australia I have not been there yet. Five roundabouts rolled into one.

    Living in Melbourne we have fun doing right-hand-turns from the left lane to dodge trams. (Or if you drive on the wrong side of the road (the right side, not the left side): left hand turns from the right lane.


  12. My father always contended that the roads were built by little boys playing with tinker toys and leggos. Oh, and no sense of direction.

    That is a confusing place. Remind me to avoid it.

  13. grumbler10:26 p.m.

    Howdy W**2 - it's nice to know that we don't hold a lock on
    navigational malfeasances. There's
    an expressway (not far away) which
    had an exit marked "Road to Nowhere", which was truth in advertising, writ large. For all i know, it still is a two-lane exit
    into an empty floodplane. i wish that was the only example...
    Great post! Forget about fuel efficiency, make sure your next car has a double-wide aspirin jar

  14. Menchie:

    It IS scary for out-of-towners. I navigate Confusion Corner fairly often. If you live here, it's manageable. If you don't...

    Ms. Val:

    I have had to deal with roundabouts in Edmonton, Alberta.

    They CAN be scary and disorienting and I felt the fear of being confused and getting stuck and having to circle around again.

    It's all about being in the correct lane and knowing how to exit.


    I'll raise your floods and call with a -64C with windchill, a killer tornado and floods in 1950 that touched rooftops.

    Ha! Beat that!


    OK, I'll be there in three months after I circumnavigate the globe. Sounds like that line out of Peter Pan...

    Homo Enema:

    I think I'll email your comment to the Tourism Department! It would be the stuff of visitor brochure legend!

    You're right, of course. But all that DOES give the city character, doncha think?

  15. Andrew:

    Here in North America, we drive on the right side of the road, not the left as in most of Europe.

    That super roundabout is a hoot!


    Your dad might have been right...or the roads might have been designed by a group of women having tea! (**Runs away laughing**)


    No, the U.S. of A. (I THINK that's where you're from, right?) doesn't have exclusive rights to traffic snafus.

    At least city planners seem to have a sense of humour with an exit called Road to Nowhere...

  16. brilliant post dude! now i really wanna visit your hometown just to see if i can negotiate that intersection!!! and i so wanna visit that restaurant!

  17. Angel:

    Tell you what...if you ever come to Winnipeg, I'll take you there -- if we don't get lost.


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