How Shops at Don Mills streets got their names

National Post  Published: Thursday, April 30, 2009

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The streets of the Shops at Don Mills -- the al-fresco collection of upscale shops that has replaced the old Don Mills Centre mall -- are private. But developer Cadillac Fairview still faced a bit of drama at city hall when it came time to name them. Rob Roberts offers five things you need to know about how the streets got their names:

1 The development, which opened last week, has nine named thoroughfares. Cadillac Fairview originally wanted to call them Strolling Mills Road (''chosen to encourage leisurely walking and shopping,'' according to an early Cadillac Fairview explanation); Heartwood Road (''the street connotes a caring neighbourhood''); Azure Mews (''relating to the open blue sky''); Moonlight Lane (''relating to moonlight nights''); as well as Nestling Walk, Mercado Mews, Clock Tower Road, Reunion Walk and Twilight Lane. ''I looked at the original names and I wasn't fussy on them,'' said the local councillor, Cliff Jenkins. ''I just thought they were a concoction of funny names.''

2 The North York community preservation panel didn't much like the names either.

Edith Geduld, the past chairwoman, said she found the names a bit cheesy, and the panel suggested the streets be given heritage-themed names instead. She expected to lose that battle; she credits a timely intervention by Councillor Denzil Min-nan-Wong at one of the three North York community council meetings at which this was discussed, and Cadillac Fairview's willingness to compromise. Among the names eventually approved by North York council: Karl Fraser Road (named for the first CEO of Don Mills Development); Aggie Hogg Gardens (storekeeper and daughter of settler John Hogg); Maginn Mews (for merchant/ politician Charles Maginn, a Welshman apparently known for his prowess at spearing salmon) and other roads named for settlers including O'Neill Road, Leadley Lane, Pabst Lane, Sampson Mews. ''We were all quite pleased we managed to get the heritage names,'' said Ms. Geduld.

3 The only original name that survived was Clock Tower Road. A tenant of that street, TD Canada Trust, needed an address quickly to meet Bank Act requirements, so that was approved early. As it turned out, Mr. Jenkins said, ''The one street we had to name [early] was the one street name I actually liked.''

4 The only heritage name rejected was Hollingshead Road. Councillor Howard Moscoe wanted a street to honour the late Marie Labatte, a North York and Toronto councillor from 1976 to 1996, and Marie Labatte Road was born. This created a further complication, because police and EMS objected to its similarity to Labatt Avenue, a small road near Regent Park, but councillors went ahead anyway. Ms. Geduld said the heritage panel didn't know much about the Hollingshead name anyway, so the change was fine by them. ''I knew [only that] the couple owned the land, and tilled the land, and lived here a long time.''

5 The signs themselves look like the city's new street signs, but aren't quite. Cadillac Fairview paid the $6,000 cost for the signs, which feature the Shops at Don Mills' wordmark (in Helvetica Neue lettering) to delineate the district from regular city streets, a spokesman for Cadillac Fairview says. ''The city then ordered the signs, as they have to meet their standards,'' said the spokesman.


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