OK, I admit it. I’m an odonymist, at least I hope that’s the word for one who enjoys discovering the origins of street names.
And while I can’t find this unusual word in any dictionary, I do know that the first part of the word, odonym, is an identifying name given to a thoroughfare, be it a street, avenue, trail or whatever.
So, just as deltiology is the study of postcards (which I do) and a deltiologist is a student or collector of postcards (which I also do), I’m taking the leap that an odonymist is one who studies the origin of street names.
What say you, professor?
Now, having made that assumption, what brings the word odonymist to mind is an email I received recently from Barbara Craig, a Sun reader who has issues, as do I, with the selection of names for some of the stations on the Eglinton Crosstown LTR line now under construction and which has a projected opening date sometime in 2021.
Now, before the Metrolinx people point out the fact that the naming selection has been going on for several years and yes, perhaps I should have paid more attention to what was taking place and should have discovered the “online engagement tool” featured on the Metrolinx.com website. Sorry guys, missed it.
You had a daunting task to be sure especially when it came to ensuring there was no duplication with station names on the existing TTC subway system. This accounts for Warden being identified on the Crosstown line as Golden Mile, there already being a Warden on the TTC’s Line 2.
Another example of this dilemma is the Crosstown station at Bathurst St. that will be called Forest Hill as there is already a Bathurst on Line 2. Another will be Fairbank at the Dufferin St. intersection since Dufferin is another Line 2 station.
The Crosstown surface stop at the Leslie and Eglinton intersection will be known as Sunnybrook Park, there already being a Leslie, and again it’s on Line 2. Crosstown’s station at Bayview Ave. is to be called Leaside there being a Bayview on the TTC’s Line 3.
Other stations along the Eglinton LRT route will take their respective names from nearby intersections: Caledonia, Oakwood, Chaplin, Mount Pleasant, Laird, Wynford, Sloane (should add hyphen and street opposite, Bermondsey, see Hakimi – Lebovic), O’Connor (even though O’Connor doesn’t intersect with Eglinton), Pharmacy, Wynford, Hakimi – Lebovic, Birchmount, Ionview and Kennedy.
But wait, you’re on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and you wish to get off at Yonge St. That station is to be known as Eglinton. This one really needs to be hyphenated even though the “Naming Principles and Protocols” adopted by Metrolinx has determined hyphenation is to be avoided.
All this said, there is one Crosstown station name that both reader Barb and I (and others I suspect) find disagreeable and inaccurate certainly from a Toronto history point-of-view. The name that we are questioning is the one that has been selected for the station that will be located at the Eglinton and Avenue Rd. intersection.
As it now stands, this station will be identified simply as Avenue even though since the beginning of time (well, since the mid-1800s anyway) this thoroughfare has always been known by its full name, Avenue Rd. In fact, in the very earliest days of our community a definite article was assigned to the thoroughfare’s name resulting in the term The Avenue Road.
And why was that term selected?
Because the road was originally laid out as the pioneer northern thoroughfare to and from “the Avenue” — the latter being an early and colloquial term for the original name of the thoroughfare, the College Ave., now called University Ave.
As an aside, the College Ave. had received its name as it was laid out as a privately owned access road by the officials of King’s College, a school of higher learning that in 1850 was renamed the University of Toronto.
From these facts I hope the powers that be reconsider the name of the Eglinton and Avenue Rd. LRT station and give it the more authentic title, Avenue Rd.
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