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Thread: Canadian street names

  1. #1
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Canadian street names

    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Now the most important question:

    Why is it that most cities in Ontario have a major E-W arterial named Dundas?
    According to Wikipedia, it's because there is a "constituent community" of the City of Hamilton near Lake Ontario called Dundas which was a prosperous independent city in the middle of the 19th Century, leading neighboring Hamilton in regional importance. Streets leading from it/to it were named Dundas as a result, including Toronto's Dundas' Street, which used to terminate in Dundas. Dundas was eventually eclipsed and annexed into the City of Hamilton, though I can't find a date for this.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I think this is a great topic for its own thread! I was always curious about how the most common small town street names in Canada, or at least Ontario, were much different than those in the United States. According to Wikipedia, the most common street names in the United States are:
    1. Second or 2nd (10,866)
    2. Third (10,131)
    3. First (9,898)
    4. Fourth (9,190)
    5. Park (8,926)
    6. Fifth (8,186)
    7. Main (7,644)
    8. Sixth (7,283)
    9. Oak (6,946)
    10. Seventh (6,377)
    11. Pine (6,170)
    12. Maple (6,103)
    13. Cedar (5,644)
    14. Eighth (5,524)
    15. Elm (5,233)
    16. View (5,202)
    17. Washington (4,974)
    18. Ninth (4,908)
    19. Lake (4,901)
    20. Hill (4,877)

    Numbers, trees, geographic features, and the nation's first president. Go a bit deeper, and you'll probably encounter State, Church, Market, Court, and Division.

    When I look at Canadian towns on Google Maps, though, the results look much different. A encounter a lot of:
    • Alfred
    • Bay
    • Brock
    • Catherine or Catharine
    • Dalhousie
    • Dufferin
    • Duke
    • Dundas
    • Elgin
    • Grey or Gray
    • King
    • Peel
    • Queen
    • Regent
    • Simcoe
    • Stanley
    • Victoria
    • Wellington
    • York

    That's not to mention the concession lines in Ontario, or the assorted saints in Quebec.

    There were a few names that might be shared between American and Canadian towns; Main, Market, Park, North, South, East, West. Otherwise, if someone tells me they're standing on the corner of Queen and Simcoe, odds are very good it's north of the border, and there's a Tim Horton's on one corner and a Coffee Time on another.

    I'm such a geek.
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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Slightly off topic, but I think its great that there are apparently more 2nd Streets in the U.S. than 1st Streets. Is that because the numbers sometimes come off a Main Street or Washington St.?

    Back on topic, it looks like the Canadian streets are often named after famous British lords and such. Not a lot of Washington Streets there. I think if you looked at a map of the U.S. pre-1776 the street names might be more similar. We just renamed them when we told the British to eat toast.

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich View post
    Slightly off topic, but I think its great that there are apparently more 2nd Streets in the U.S. than 1st Streets. Is that because the numbers sometimes come off a Main Street or Washington St.?
    A couple of WAGs:

    * First Streets often ran along a river or harbor, and might have been removed for harbor expansion, port facilities, or taken out in some other kind of encroachment. One example: First Street in Buffalo, really a part of the Village of Black Rock grid, was platted on the very edge of Lake Erie; it disappeared into the lake as the Inner Basin was developed. Second Street also disappeared into Lake Erie. Third Street was replaced by the Erie Canal. Many of the other numbered streets in the former Village of Black Rock were renamed: 8th became Niagara Street, 9th became Prospect Avenue, 10th became Fargo Avenue and so on.

    * First Street may have been the most likely street renamed for some historic figure or event; e.g. Washington, Lincoln, MLK, Veterans, etc.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Martin Luther King, Jr. Street/Road/Boulevard/Avenue/Etc took over the old street name/number in many a town and city - often as it was the main arterial through the africanamerican neighborhood.

    In my hometown, 9th Street was renamed MLK, in another town I lived in 21st Street was renamed. What streets were renamed in your places of residence?
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Boylston Street in Cambridge (not the Boylston Street in Boston) became JFK Street after the Kennedy School opened on it. Only in the past few years have you stopped hearing people refer to Boylston Street.

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