Want to leave your mark on the city? You've got the chance to name 3 new streets

New streets are being created as the Six Points interchange transforms into Etobicoke Centre, and the city is holding a competition to pick the names.

New roads being created in Etobicoke, with naming competition ending Sunday

Amid road redesigns in Etobicoke, shown here in a city rendering released as part of the Six Points redevelopment plans, the city is holding a competition to name three new streets. (City of Toronto)

If you've ever wanted to leave your mark on Toronto, now's your chance: Residents have the opportunity to name three new streets.

They're being created as part of the Six Points Interchange transformation — a project in the works for more than a decade, which aims to untangle a traffic and pedestrian "spaghetti" junction where Bloor Street West, Kipling Avenue and Dundas Street West converge, and transform it into a new Etobicoke Centre.

The plan involves levelling the Dundas and Bloor bridges over Kipling, eliminating several on- and off-ramps, and creating more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and bike lanes, with the final phase of construction ending in 2020.

Plus, there will be the three new roads linking the new routes together, and residents have until Sunday, Dec. 9 to enter a city competition to name them.

Major changes are coming to the traffic tangle at the heart of Etobicoke's Six Points neighbourhood, and the city is giving residents the chance to name these three new roads. (City of Toronto)

These three newcomers will join nearly 15,000 other local roads, laneways, trails and major arterials throughout Toronto, according to city data.

And anyone hoping to find naming inspiration can take it from the myriad of striking street names that already exist.

Case in point, the musical-sounding Turntable Crescent in Earlscourt Park and Disco Road in Rexdale or the borderline-creepy Strange Street in Riverdale and Mould Avenue in Rockcliffe-Smythe.

There's also the quirky Atomic Avenue off The Queensway and oddly-named Busy Street in Leslieville (which is, ironically, a rather quiet side street just north of Queen Street East).

Street names should portray 'positive image,' city says

Other better-known names, according to historians, came about thanks to rather curious chains of events.

Take University Avenue, which heads north toward the University of Toronto campus, but was originally called College Avenue to reference King's College, the first incarnation of the campus founded in 1827.

"Lined with pink flowering chestnuts, boulevards and walkways, the 120-foot-wide street became a favourite spot for promenades," write Leonard Wise and Alan Gould in their book Toronto Street Names: An Illustrated Guide to Their Origins.

But in 1859, College Avenue was no more: the road was renamed to "avoid confusion" with College Street.

Then there's St. Clair Avenue: The iconic midtown thoroughfare got its name "by accident and a spelling mistake," Wise and Gould write.

St. Clair Avenue got its name 'by accident and a spelling mistake,' write Leonard Wise and Alan Gould in their book Toronto Street Names: An Illustrated Guide to Their Origins. (Google Maps)

It all came about after Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin gained popularity in the mid-19th century. In the story, slaveholder Augustine St. Clare frees the titular character. 

A Toronto man named Albert Grainger apparently liked the book so much he decided to give himself a middle name inspired by it — albeit one misspelled as "St. Clair" instead of "St. Clare" — and after jokingly nailing a sign with his new name to a tree, surveyors mistook it for an official street sign instead. 

Rather than nailing up a sign, anyone wanting to try their hand at naming one of the three modern-day streets in Etobicoke can submit their ideas online.

But keep in mind the current guidelines: Proposed street names should "portray a strong positive image and have a historical, cultural, Indigenous or social significance or recognize the local community, the City, the Province of Ontario or Canada," according to the city.


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