Planning & Urban Design

Best bet – where not many people usually go

Five years ago the City of Winnipeg rewrote the downtown zoning by-law.  As part of the process, the planning department reviewed the range of building and land uses that would be appropriate in the city’s centre.  This review was carried out amid an international consensus that more diverse types of use are best for downtowns – and that blanket restrictions prohibiting certain land uses should be implemented only with great restraint.  The authors of the new zoning bylaw noted that an asphalt plant would not be permitted in our downtown, and that only extremely noxious, or obnoxious, land use would be prohibited.

The relaxation of use restrictions is probably a good thing for urban centres.  A fairly permissive environment makes it easier for entrepreneurs to initiate projects, and for unexpected uses to appear as the marketplace explores new directions.  This represents a sea change in planning attitudes – a welcome change to the overly predictive and restrictive zoning most cities had for the preceding 50 to 60 years.  Yet as this new laissez-faire consensus has become law, we may want to determine what projects really do deserve prohibition.  What kinds of development really are destructive to the economic and social health of our cities’ downtowns?

One obvious candidate for such prohibition in a lively downtown is large-scale surface parking.  Another is a stadium.  Manitoba’s senior federal minister, Vic Towes, announced this spring that Winnipeg’s new stadium should be built “downtown”.  In this context, downtown was defined, rather surprisingly, as Point Douglas, and the announcement was made with the apparent belief that any government largesse should, in principle, be located in the city centre, and that it would inevitably lead to an downtown growth.

It is a truism in city planning that there is a significant difference between arenas (hockey, basketball, boxing, mid-scale rock concerts) and stadiums (football, mega-concerts) in relation to their impact on urban surroundings.  The emblematic arenas in North America are probably Madison Square Garden and the Boston Garden – mid-scale urban venues that have a large number of diverse events year-round.  Our arena, MTS Centre, now has over 250 events each year – an astounding five per week.  This level of relatively constant and steady use fosters, over a period of years, a certain equilibrium between users, local infrastructure, and local spin-off commercial activity.   The general experience has been that arenas like ours prove to be positive urban generators of business and city life.

A stadium, however, is a different animal.  The number of events in stadiums is limited by their size, and they often showcase only 15 to 20 events per year – each attended by a massive and sporadic influx of audience members. It is difficult for normal urban enterprises to coexist with such a variable presence.  The Hubert Humphrey Stadium was built in 1980 in central Minneapolis as the home of the Minnesota Vikings.  Even though the stadium was covered, and thus able to house more events than an open-air facility, the sporadic-massive-influx characteristic of large stadium was inevitable.  The only neighbours to survive the powerful presence of the stadium are surface parking lots and sports-oriented drinking establishments – and even these have to survive on intense, occasional business opportunities.

Chicago’s Soldier Field might be considered “downtown” because it is on the lakefront and central to greater Chicago; however, it is a good distance from any area that might be considered downtown, or mixed-use, or urban.  Because it is in a large park, far from any urban environment, the massive sporadic influx of users in Soldier Field has had little negative impact on Chicago’s downtown, and the relationship, if not one of spurring urban development, seems to be non-destructive.

Montreal’s Percival Molson Stadium sits in urban surroundings in ways that are very similar to Soldier Field – it is centrally located but is not an integral part of downtown – and it is surrounded by mixed-use, populated urban areas.  Montreal’s stadium is tucked away in a corner of Mount Royal at the north side of the McGill University campus.

Cincinnati has built two massive new stadiums in its downtown over the past decade.  Both are architecturally handsome, and both were meant to contribute to the rebirth of Cincinnati’s centre.  They were constructed side by side along the Ohio River, isolated from downtown by urban expressways, and surrounded by large parking lots.  One has simply to look at an aerial view of Cincinnati on Google Earth to understand how misguided the two large projects were in terms of creating downtown vitality, and how sad it was to turn the city’s back, once again, on the river that was the community’s original raison d’être.

The new Winnipeg stadium, wherever it is constructed, will not have a roof. This is because caveats were placed against the stadium in order to protect the MTS Centre from competition.  An uncovered stadium will have fewer, and necessarily more sporadic, events than a covered facility.  And the impact of this restriction will be to heighten the “black hole”, or vacuum, impact of the stadium on its surroundings.

If stadiums are a necessary part of large cities, where are they best located?  I suspect that Chicago, Montreal tell the story rather nicely:  Such facilities belong in areas that already endure sporadic incursions of large numbers of people. And they belong in areas in were there is no adjacent existing fine-scaled urban fabric or mixed-use.  In Winnipeg the location of our existing stadium in Polo Park seems to fit the criteria for good location rather well.

Land values also have a bearing on the location of a stadium.  Car dealerships and large-scale athletic facilities are both attracted by large parcels of low-cost available land.  As land values rise these facilities tend to search for lower-cost locations, where their relatively low-per-square-foot earning power is more closely related to land value.  Might it be that the high land values in the Polo Park area (possibly the highest in the city) may be too financially attractive to waste on sporadic athletic use?

If this is the case, we may wonder about who would benefit from the sale of the current stadium lands – and whether the idea of moving to riverfront lands in Point Douglas is driven more by the search for easily expropriated, relatively cheap land than by dreams of a revitalized urban core.

Originally published in Winnipeg Free Press, Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Impact of urban university leaves no room for cheap architecture

The decision to locate Manitoba’s major university far from Winnipeg’s urban centre may have been the most unfortunate planning decision in the city’s history.

At first glance we might think that a university is a university – and that as long as the appropriate educational statistics are satisfied then campus location should be irrelevant.  However, the experience in other cities reminds us of the important contribution large urban universities make to the richness and vivacity of their cities (in Canada, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax come to mind).

Winnipeg is fortunate in that the University of Winnipeg is expanding.  Though the U of W may never grow to become our major provincial university, it does show promise of becoming much more of a presence in this city’s downtown.  If the current building campaign is successful, the U of W may bring at least a taste of the impact McGill, the University of Toronto, or Dalhousie have had on Montreal, Toronto and Halifax, respectively.

The architectural heritage of the U of W is surprisingly strong.  The original Wesley Hall (now home to the U of W Collegiate) was a beautiful sandstone structure which has recently been restored.  At the north end of the main campus, along Ellice Avenue, sits an imposing – though generally forgotten – brick building (Lockhart Hall).  Lockhart Hall was designed by Moody Moore and Partners, and is an excellent example of the architecture of the 1960s.

In the early 1970s, the U of W launched an adventurous rebuilding campaign.  This initiative resulted in the construction of Centennial Hall, designed by Louis Morse of Moody Moore and Partners.  Centennial Hall may be seen today as a lot of steel and glass hulking over sidewalks and smaller buildings below.  In fact it was an ingenious solution to a difficult problem: how to double the size of the university’s facilities without buying more land and without destroying all of the buildings that already filled the campus.  The grand scheme grew out of current theoretical work in Europe, and was recognized in the international architectural press as an important breakthrough building.

As the University of Winnipeg expands, we can all hope that this tradition of excellent institutional architecture will be continued – guaranteeing that new buildings will reflect the long tradition of urban universities constructing high quality, durable buildings.  Unfortunately, there is reason to suspect that architectural quality is not high on the institution’s agenda.  Work that has recently been completed at the north end of Lockhart Hall, the handsome brick structure along Ellice Avenue, provides a telling case-in-point.

Road works were completed at the Ellice Avenue entrance to create the main campus drop-off.  The concrete ramp, which provides access for wheelchairs, received a new red vinyl roof.  It is this roof that caught my eye.  It appears that the roof was constructed to reduce snow-clearing costs and to make life for those who need the ramp more comfortable. Given the quality of the work, it also appears that the cheapest methods and materials were chosen to put a roof on the ramp.  The result is an arched vinyl roof supported by randomly spaced galvanized steel pipes.  The new roof stands in startling and disturbing contrast with the building behind it – both in terms of construction quality and in terms of architectural excellence.

Our institutions are clearly strapped for funds.  This malaise seems to be a permanent reality for universities, and public sector bureaucracies are perennially afraid to be seen “wasting” the taxpayer’s money.  Too much attention to this sometimes imagined political hot potato can, and often does, lead to short-changing of our society’s broader goals.  In order to avoid the pitfalls of excessive budgetary caution we have to, from time to time, remind ourselves of the underlying mandates of our public institutions, and assure that those mandates do not suffer.

A university works within clear and well-understood mandates: to provide good-quality educational services reliably and within established budgets.  There are, as well, other mandates: to enrich our society; to establish and maintain a presence and status in our culture; to be a beacon of excellence; and to be a permanent and significant reflection of our society’s pride and aspirations.  These mandates extend well beyond technical and short-term fiduciary responsibility.

All building projects at the university are integral to it’s mandates.  This is as true for a roof for a ramp as it is for a large-scale building project.  It is especially true when that roof becomes an integral and highly visible part of a larger building.  All actions by the university carry the inherent obligation to promote and reflect the significance of the institution.  Especially for building projects, money spent for the long term is better than money spent many times over for the short term.  (The vinyl canopy not only sends a message of lack of care; it will have to be replaced 20 times in the lifespan of a well-designed and well-constructed version.)

One can only surmise that the decision to construct this flimsy and distressing “Band-Aid” grew from the internal administration’s desire to get it done “fast and cheap”.  The results confirm that the departments charged with facility management should not become the arbiters of institutional presence.  They should not be licensed, because of their budget control responsibilities and obligations, to oversee technical performance, to decide what an institution is – in the public eye and memory.  As for every other public or private institution, the head person is where the buck stops, and the president of the University of Winnipeg might do well to keep closer tabs on the physical signals the university is sending.

Originally published in Winnipeg Free Press, Sunday, July 29, 2007

Planners and urban designers are always full of great ideas.  These great ideas rarely see the light of day, and most remain buried in reports, sketches or daydreams.

However, some of these ideas take on a life of their own.  They may sit unheard and unseen for many years, yet they occasionally percolate to the top of someone’s agenda, and – sometimes in bits of pieces – begin to re-define the city.

In the 1960s, the city’s planning department developed a plan for the redevelopment of Winnipeg’s downtown.  There were many parts of this plan that were realized – most to the detriment of our central core.  But some parts of the plan remained as no more than ideas. One of those ideas was that Edmonton Street become a main pedestrian and “green” corridor in downtown, linking Central Park and the north-central core area with Broadway, Assiniboine Avenue, and the Assiniboine River.

A part of this dream was realized in the 1970s when a park was developed linking Central Park and Ellice Avenue, north of Portage Place Shopping Centre.  Though this park has contributed perhaps little to the quality of life of local residents, it kept the flame alive, and resulted in a little-known arrangement in Portage Place shopping centre.

The North Portage Development Corporation, as part of its development of the Portage Place, established a binding and perpetual agreement with the original developers (Cadillac Fairview).  In return for North Portage paying to make the Edmonton Court in the mall a great big airy greenhouse and gathering place, Cadillac Fairview agreed to make it a quasi-public place in which the city and the North Portage Development Corporation could stage public events at their discretion in perpetuity.  This right has not been exercised often, but remains in place.

This large-scale indoor public open space has been mostly forgotten, and most people see it as no more than the part of the shopping mall that happens to have a big glass roof.

In 2002, the City engaged NDLea Engineers and Planners, and a team of consultants, to prepare a strategy for revitalization Portage.  The report mainly concentrated on tools for attracting commercial activity along The Avenue.  In addition, other initiatives were suggested which were intended to enrich the areas north and south of Portage – with the understanding that only with an active hinterland could The Avenue become, once again, the core street of Winnipeg.

One of the hinterland initiatives presented in the planning report was to develop Edmonton Street as a pedestrian-friendly and commercially active link between Edmonton Court and the Convention Centre.  Edmonton Street has carried little traffic since it was closed north of Portage Avenue.  If there is one downtown street that could be easily closed for special occasions, it is Edmonton between Graham and Portage Avenues.  And Edmonton Street closed to traffic for one block for public parties could become a perfect counterpart to the great big public greenhouse just north of Portage Avenue (remember Edmonton Court?) for really big street parties (even in rain and snow).

Though it was officially accepted by the city’s administration, The Portage Avenue Revitalization Plan was never made public, and it has sat un-read in the city’s shelf for the past three years.  There has been no particular reason to open this file, and everyone has been comfortable with it as an incidental piece of urban history.

Four years ago the City swapped Winnipeg Hydro for a guarantee that Manitoba Hydro would build a great big building downtown.  That building is now under construction.  It will be on Edmonton Street just south of of Edmonton Court.

All of which got me thinking.

Edmonton Court North (glazed) and Edmonton Court South (open to the sky) could easily become the new hub of downtown activity.   Events could be scheduled for both the atrium and for the closed street south of Portage Avenue.  Manitoba Hydro could be the patriarchal donor of public space improvements along the west boundary of their land.  The City could facilitate construction and approval.  The North Portage Development Corporation could coordinate events – as they already do under their other name at The Forks.

The first step in making this happen will be for Manitoba Hydro to volunteer to take a lead role in redevelopment of the street – with street narrowing, a bike lane, trees, seating, and equipment to easily close and re-open the street to traffic. Manitoba Hydro’s role should be to sponsor this development and to include the construction work as part of their building development.  The city’s role should be to put up some money and to facilitate this development at every step of the way.  And the North Portage Development Corporation’s role should be to act as champion for the project before and following construction.  These roles fall easily within the mandates of all three players.

The Winnipeg Hydro deal was too sweet for Manitoba Hydro for them to express any hesitation about supporting this initiative.  Support for Edmonton Court South (call it Hydro Court if we have to) represents a fly on the elephant of the Hydro building budget.  And this is an excellent opportunity for Manitoba Hydro to show its true colours as a responsible and enthusiastic corporate citizen.

Originally published in Winnipeg Free Press, Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sprawl brings more stress to transportation and services infrastructures

Winnipeg city council is about to debate its support for the development of the Waverly West project at the south end of Winnipeg.

The site is owned in part by the Province of Manitoba, and sits west of Waverly Street, between the Perimeter Highway and Bishop Grandin.   A significant percentage of the land is outside the urban development limit defined by Plan Winnipeg.  With expert opinion coming both for and against the project, it is difficult for the public to know whether the development is a good idea or a poor one.

In the early 1970s the province embarked on a program of landbanking, a tool borrowed from the U.K.  The theory of government landbanking was that if the government owned large enough parcels of suburban lands it could sell them at rates lower than those charged by private developers.  This could be done in large enough blocks to counterbalance the high prices charged by private business – and brake a precipitous rise in market-driven pricing.

With Winnipeg’s slow growth, this explosion in development and prices never occurred, and the government abandoned its landbanking policies many years ago.  But it did not abandon all of the lands they had acquired.


Two years ago the then minister of family services and housing assistance to middle-income Manitobans.  All three of these parcels lie well outside of Winnipeg’s downtown. Waverly West contains one of these original landbanking parcels.

Some members of Winnipeg’s planning and architectural community were disturbed by this unilateral provincial initiative, and cited the following concerns: This provincial government support for suburban development is not matched by comparable support for central city development – and it runs counter to the tri-level government accord recognizing the priority of Winnipeg’s core areas.  A number of publicly funded studies demonstrate that the true costs of perimeter suburban development far outweigh economic benefits. And sprawl brings additional stress to transportation and services infrastructure.

The sponsors of the Waverly West development held a workshop for the local planning, engineering and design community to help define the direction of development.  This workshop was attended by local professionals, whose efforts focused on making the best of what was coming, and incorporating the latest in urban development theory.

Several months ago, the Free Press published a story about a transportation expert who argued that sprawl is a good thing.  The gentleman was quoted as saying that since Sao Paulo and Mexico City are sprawling, Winnipeg should also sprawl.  (Neglecting to point out that those two cities sprawl because they are huge and rapidly growing, and that both, with centres full to bursting, have no alternative to sprawl – conditions quite different from those in Winnipeg.)

Those who defend the Waverly West development argue that there will soon be a shortage of available lands for low-density single-family housing. They also suggest that refusal to expand the supply of available land will result in a leapfrogging of development to our outlying communities.  This threat of leapfrogging should not be taken as proof that Waverly West is necessary. There are more alternatives than either allowing development at Waverly West, or helplessly watching the uncontrolled growth of Oakbank.

Current projections of land shortages are based on the assumption that low-density single family housing in “greenfield” development sites is the only way to expand our city.  The projections also indicate that there is limited land available for infill development in already-serviced areas of Winnipeg.


However, even the most dire projections of available infill lands suggest that a large number of housing units can be constructed on “infill” sites.  (In this context, it is important to note that “infill” does not necessarily mean “downtown”, and that many serviced acres are available adjacent to existing residential areas.)  In the interests of sound development and effective use of existing infrastructure, it seems better to exhaust the opportunities for infill development before issuing a carte blanche for expansion into prime agricultural land.

There is little indication that the original landbanking goals of price stabilization are part of the current strategy. Even if costs were lowered, the cost reduction would be available only to initial purchasers, and the true market value of the lands will result in excessive profits to those purchasers upon re-sale.

This would be a strange kind of subsidy for the province to provide – and it is precisely this flaw which brought an end to landbanking in other jurisdictions.  If the province wishes to assist with the long-term health of our city, and to assist with housing for middle-income Winnipeggers, there are better ways to accomplish these goals.

If the Waverly West lands are to be developed, as they may be over the next few decades, the City should make every effort to fill the centre before facilitating the expansion of the periphery.

Originally published in Winnipeg Free Press, Thursday, September 23, 2004

I suspect that many young architects enter the profession with a desire to accomplish something that will last longer than they will.

Most buildings, though, do not last very long.  Even important works of architecture are often demolished a surprisingly short time after they are constructed.

Most of Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings had already been torn down by the time he died.  And several buildings by our current icon of the profession, Frank Gehry, have been torn down because of the expense of maintaining his formally complex creations.

The irony is that cultural artifacts that are physically much more vulnerable – words written on paper, music played into the wind and dramatic performances lasting little more than an hour –have a better chance of achieving eternal life than bricks, stone and steel.

Powerful works of art can be central to our lives for centuries; weaker creations do not last so long.

If we happen to go to a bad movie or exhibition of paintings, we can leave and forget the experience quickly.  If it really is terrible, the rest of the world will soon forget it, too, and this oblivion is the blessing that protects us from constant bombardment from creative acts which did not quite make it.

This potential for very quick oblivion in the other arts has an interesting impact on creation: The “right” to fail and be quickly forgotten gives the practitioners of these other arts license to make very big mistakes without crippling effect, and this licence also gives freedom to make breakthroughs and compelling new markers for all of us.

Though the lifespan of a single building may be relatively short, when mistakes are made in our built environment they are with us, and stare us in the face, for a long time. A second-rate book has a shelf life of a few months.  A poor building or planning decision can be a part of our collective lives for decades.

Because poor architecture does not have the blessing of quick oblivion, owners and architects elect to only slowly move beyond today’s norms and expectations.

Because the impact of error is so permanent (40-year permanent, not forever permanent), and because errors are so visible to us all, the arts of architecture and planning are subject to much more strict rules and approval procedures than are the other arts.   At the civic level, we have levels of artistic oversight and control that would never be accepted in other creative disciplines.

My normal response to these levels of control in planning and architecture is to wish for less; to hope that many clients and designers working together can – on their own – challenge existing norms, and create a better collective environment.

But sometimes things happen that are truly destructive to our urban environment; when we see this occur we can only wish that even more strict levels of control had been in place.

Winnipeg has recently experienced such a development.  One of the recent influx of national chain pharmacies has just opened on the land on which the Winnipeg Supply building stood.  The new building is set behind an immense parking lot just as it would be for a store in “big-box-land”.

This has been done not in low-density suburbia, but in a downtown area where the buildings are set close to the sidewalk, where pedestrians actually walk, and where diverse storefronts are a part of normal urban experience.

The destruction of a coherent urban space and relationship is palpable (yes, even Portage Avenue is nice), and it will be a long time before it can be healed.

Originally published in Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday, June 19, 2004

Governments need space for administrative services and personnel, and in a city the size of Winnipeg, it’s a significant amount of space.

As the governments search for ways to minimize costs, the expense of operating this space is open to scrutiny, and attempts are constantly being made to either reduce these costs or keep them in check.

Several decades ago, both the federal and provincial governments built their own buildings to house most of their administrative employees.

In the long run, this may be the most economical way to operate, but it requires initial (and more visible) spending – as opposed to rental costs, which can be treated as an ongoing operational “line item”.  Because renting space can provide flexibility, and because renting reduces obligations for large initial capital outlays, governments have tended to house more and more of their employees in leased space.

As leases expire (usually after either five or 10 years), governments start looking for the lowest cost space the market can provide.  This has sometimes led to such extremes as accommodating staff in large abandoned steel warehouse buildings in Winnipeg’s industrial parks.  This is perhaps not the best place to house administrative staff, and it can take a while before people remember that a city’s centre is likely a better place for such work.

As this realization takes hold, “downtown first” is re-instituted as priority policy for leasing office space.  The pendulum swings, and we are currently in an era in which downtown offices are again sought for provincial and federal administration.

As building owners and developers compete to attract government tenants in our downtown, they of course must provide the required space at a cost lower than that of all competitors.  As the musical chairs of moving departments to new cheaper-for-the-next-five-years locations takes place, the quality of selected space and of buildings can decline.  This decline can result in lower-quality work environments – and when buildings are stripped to their bare minimum the public environment suffers as well.

A recent example of this decline can be seen in the development of the new headquarters for the Department of Indian and Native Affairs Canada on Hargrave Street.

The building presents an unwelcoming façade.

Materials and details are of poor quality, and the overall impression created by the building is that our government has no aspirations, either to present itself to the public, to tell the recipients of its services that they are important, nor to tell its employees that they are valued.

Three solutions to this situation would lead to higher quality architecture and to a stronger image for the services:

The first of these would be to revert to the policy of constructing buildings for government use, a solution that would probably be cheapest in the long run.

The second would be to enter into long-term lease/buy-back contracts with strict performance, location and architectural standards.

And the third would be to insist on a higher level of architectural and technical performance within the current short-term leasing environment.  Though this requires serious commitment, forethought and management from government tenants, it has been used successfully for some projects.

Originally published in Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday, May 8, 2004

Innovative everyday architecture isn’t beyond our grasp

Most of us were first exposed to myths in high school, where we learned the stories handed down by the ancient Greeks or Norsemen.  Though these myths provided a core interpretation of reality to their contemporary cultures, their basis in fact is, at best, limited.

This scientific unreality of myths has lead to the belief that a myth is no more than a fairy tale, or even a lie.  “That’s just a myth” is regularly used as a disparaging reference to foolish or naive conceptions.

However, myths can also be seen in a different light.  The ancient myths provided their cultures with the equivalent of the scientific explanation of things; they also, and more importantly, defined their culture’s central worldview.

We still need such core values, even in a scientific and technical age.  We all build, as part of our cultural growth and survival, a framework of values, aspirations and priorities.  This framework serves as the measure against which we judge ourselves, our society, and our culture.

Our myths are our measure; they provide the essential form of our social and intellectual lives.

The focus of these articles is the importance of making well our buildings, our city, and our physical world.  At a technical level, it’s clear – of course the streets have to work, elevators have to deliver people to high places, plumbing systems must separate sewage from drinking water, and buildings must not fall down.

But there is another level at which we have to make our physical world:  The level of aesthetic, cultural and social quality.  We can only achieve this when the wish to build our homes well is part of our collective psyche and will.

The myth that innovative and compelling architecture is essential is widely held in many parts of the world. The citizens of Helsinki and Copenhagen know who their architects are and regularly discuss their relative merits.

London, which had relatively little high-quality modern architecture after the Second World War, now has remarkably good buildings going up wherever one looks.  Chicago the architecture city, and this self-proclaimed label has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Montreal has become, in the last two decades, an amazingly vital centre for architectural discourse and accomplishment – and that this is a relatively recent phenomenon gives some hope the current level of a city’s architectural consciousness is not its permanent level.

In Winnipeg things are changing.

There is a hope that the new Museum of Human Rights will be a significant architectural project. There are indications that the new Hydro Building will be a signal building – both as a piece of architecture and as an exemple of ecological responsibility.  The expansion of the Centennial Library is being pursued with serious architecture in mind.  And the City has instituted an annual international design competition which has raised our visibility in the world of architecture.   These are all really good things.

The big projects, though, are the easy part.

The proof of the pudding is to be found when even relatively mundane projects absolutely have to be high quality from an architectural stand point.  We are not there, but maybe we can get there.

A program in Montreal, in place for several years, may point the way.  Every year, projects are entered in a citywide design competition to name the best project of the past year.  The winning project receives $2 million (yes, $2 million!) in free advertising from the city’s media.

Last year the winning project was a Laundromat.

Originally published in Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday, May 1, 2004