Street names provide a highly visible record of a city's past, commemorating the people and events that have shaped the place. Now comes a book for everyone who has walked along or driven by a Toronto street and wondered, "Where do you suppose that name comes from?"
Toronto's street names hold the city's past: the trails and portages of the First Nations inhabitants; the arrival of the early explorers; the founding of the town of York at the end of the 18th century; the growth and political turmoil of the 19th century; and the expansion and modernization in the 20th.
The street names in Toronto collectively tell the story of a city that is steeped in history and is surprisingly rich in colorful characters. Chicora Avenue recalls a steamship that sailed the Great Lakes for 60 years. Harrison Road was named after William Harrison, a Reformer who died from wounds inflicted in the Rebellion of 1837. Viscount Julian Byng, who led Canadian troops to victory at Vimy in the First World War and served as Governor General in the 1920s, left his name on Byng Avenue. The Ojibway word for little hill, 'espadinong,' became Spadina (Avenue and Road). Edith Boulton, the beloved wife of piano magnate Samuel Nordheimer, was her husband's inspiration for naming their beautiful house and estate Glen Edyth, now recalled in Glen Edyth Drive. The eloquent Thomas D'Arcy Magee, a Father of Confederaton who was assassinated in a Fenian plot, is honored by D'Arcy Magee Crescent.
In all, the stories behind the naming of 350 streets - familiar, and not so familiar - are presented here. The lives of brewers, politicians, architects, royalty, explorers and farmers can be traced in the city's street names. So can the villages and homes that immigrants left behind in Great Britain, and the grand estates of Toronto's early upper class.
Reading this charming book is like taking a trip through time, along the way meeting many of the people who shaped the city. The mini-stories open little windows on the past, presenting fascinating glimpses into not only where people lived, but how. Easy to read and yet intriguing enough to send you off to the library to find out even more, this book is illustrated with period photographs and is fully indexed and cross-referenced.