The History of Street names in St. Catharines.
Have you ever wondered how your street in St. Catharines got its name? Well like many of us, So did Maurice Gromme. As an active member on the community with involvements in Rotary Club and The Historical Society of St. Catharines, Maurice wondered this very question and set out to discover the origin of as many street names in St. Catharines. Over the years I have used these bits of pieces of information for my own interest in newsletters, ad write UPs and general wit and wisdom of St. Catharines Folklore.
I had the privilege of my Dad introducing me to Maurice at a Rotary Club meetings and he always quick to a smile and story. He passed away this past month and leaves behind a unique legacy.
A History of St. Catharines Street names. Is yours on there?
Here is a few of my favourites!
Runs north-easterly off the north end of Lakeport Road. In November 2009, City Council passed a by-law to close Hogan’s Alley so it could be sold to PDVC, the company that intended to develop a complex with a tower overlooking Lake Ontario in Port Dalhousie. Not everyone was pleased by this closure, including Nancy Cameron, who claims the Alley is of great historical significance, it being an area where supplies were loaded onto ships, horses were stabled and prostitutes trolled. On page 4 of the November 1983 issue of the Port Dalhousie Nipper appeared an article that provides an explanation for the name of this street. It states that “In the late 1800’s, when the village was a bustling port, a popular comic strip named Hogan’s Alley regaled readers with the antics of humorous town characters. Along the Port Dalhousie lane in question were a number of stables and outbuildings. The motley groups of down on their luck, itinerant sailors that frequently sought over-night shelter in these buildings reminded townspeople of the comic strip characters. They started calling it Hogan’s Alley and the name stuck.” A new developer has new plans (2016) for the site.
Runs southerly from Russell Avenue to Maple Street. It was named by Edward Gardiner, Ontario Land Surveyor, who bought the land and personally planted the trees where this street is located. He probably named it after Field Marshall Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley. He was born at Golden Bridge House in Ireland. He joined the British Army when 19 years old and served in India, Burma, the Crimea and China. He came to Canada as Assistant Quartermaster-General in 1861. In 1871 he successfully led the expedition to put down the Red River Rebellion in Manitoba led by Louis Riel.
Runs northerly off Scott Street to Linwell Road. It is named for Else Ghent, wife of the owner of that area before it was subdivided. It is part of City of St. Catharines Plan 200.
Runs north-easterly from Carlisle Street to Geneva Street. To provide a reliable water source for mills along the Welland Canal a raceway stretched from Merritton to the bank below St. Paul Street. The raceway fed three courses to various mills, one of which was along Race Street. Race Street was once called Mill Street.
Hazel Street, Hazel Lane
Both of these streets runs easterly off Bessey Street. They are part of a series of streets in the Merritton area that are named after trees. The hazel is a deciduous, monoecious tree or shrub that grows in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. They originated in southern Europe and Turkey. The nuts are edible.