Toronto still has duplicate street names

The issue of what to do with 159 duplicate street names in the new city of Ottawa will prove difficult to solve, if Toronto is any example.

When Toronto amalgamated three years ago, there were 103 streets with duplicate names in the mega-city. To date only one street has been renamed.

That's despite the fact that emergency response workers feel duplicate names are potentially dangerous.

"Ambulance [and] fire dispatchers - they consider it to be a major problem," says Wally Kowalenko with the City of Toronto.

"Police services consider it to be a major problem as well. The residents on the streets, they obviously feel otherwise. There's no need to have the street names changed. That's a very strong message we're getting."

Toronto's city staff is now recommending that street names be changed over the next 15 years.

That would mean every few years people in Toronto would have to get used to 20 or 30 new street names.

Kowalenko says Toronto City Council is supposed to finally tackle the issue early in the new year - just around the time Ottawa's new city council is likely to address its own duplicate street name problem.

When asked what Ottawa should do, Kowalenko said, "Do what the public asks. That's the best you can do in a democratic society."

A series of public town hall meetings on the new city's duplicate street names is currently under way. Those meetings end on Dec. 13.