POPLAR POINT, MB – When it comes to rural bragging rights, this little prairie town is the new king of Canada.
The Canadian Council For Communities criss-crossed the country to find this year’s winner and Poplar Point Manitoba beat out provincial rival Miami Manitoba and sister city, Quaryville New Brunswick for the title of Most Junk Per Yard anywhere in Canada.
“This is quite an accomplishment,” CCC President Elmer Hildebrandt said. “There are a lot of small towns and villages across this country with a lot of junk and stuff piled everywhere. Everyone in their town or village must really be committed to accumulating stuff in their yard in order to win. There is a lot of competition for this award.”
The CCC will be erecting signs on the east and west end of Poplar Point welcoming visitors to Canada’s Junkiest Town. Something Hildebrandt says brings a surge in tourism.
“Each winner normally sees a summer boom in visitors and a big increase in photographers and Instagram users.”
Poplar Point has been in the running for the prestigious national award in previous years but this is the first time it has been successful in bringing home the gold.
“We are so proud to say we are now an award-winning town,” Poplar Point Mayor Zeke Lavallee said. “We finally beat out Westbourne and we finally have something Oakville doesn’t.”
Lavallee attributes the big win to the citizens and a continued effort to accumulating things in their yards.
“One of the best things about The Point (Poplar Point) is the big yards we all have. It takes a lot of junk to fill them so we knew a couple years ago when we were in the running for this award we could do it.”
The roadside village on Highway 26 between Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie is a cornucopia of lawn ornaments, derelict vehicles, antique farm equipment, surplus construction material, old bales, tarps and an eclectic assortment of junk.
“Poplar Pointers in the past year have saved a lot of material that would have normally gone to the dump to keep in their yard,” Mayor Lavallee explained. “Many of them have also scavenged a goodly amount of items from auction sales and we’ve seen a nice uptake in the number of salvaged snow machines and living room furniture adorning each yard. A day doesn’t go by without me looking out my front window and smiling.”
Miami Manitoba came in a close second with a strong showing in the number of discarded appliances and home furnishings strewn across most yards but it was Poplar Point’s sheer volume and variety that put it over the top.
“Both Miami and Quaryville had impressive amounts of junk but they were both a little too skewed to one specific category of junk,” Hildebrandt explained. “Miami was the leader in lawn furniture and appliances. When we went there it was like being at on outdoor furniture store. Quaryville was the leader in old vehicles but they both lacked the variety of Poplar Point.”
The CCC noted the number of different junk varieties represented in Poplar Point was the most ever recorded in one place.
“No one has ever been able to pull this off,” Hildebrandt said. “I want to encourage visitors to take a real close look because the assortment of junk you’ll find in any given yard is something you won’t find anywhere else.”
Mayor Lavallee and his council have introduced measures like cancelling garbage pickup and banning yard and garage to try and win next year.
“No town has ever won back to back years,” Lavallee said. “Most places see some residents become embarrassed and motivated to clear the junk out after a big win like this. Poplar Point is special. I don’t see us making those same mistakes. I think we’ll have a real good shot next year too.”
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