Sunday, February 12, 2012

Where the Streets Have Names

Toronto has some odd street names.  Take Avenue Road, for example.  And that's just the beginning.

There's a street in my neighbourhood called Parkview.  One time I walked along it until I finally came to the park it was named for.  I was curious to see what the park itself was called.  I circled around to the front of the wooden sign.  It read:  "Parkview Park".  So, the street is named for the park which is named for the street.  Whose idea was that?

Yonge Street is always a tough one to explain to out-of-towners.  We pronounce it "young".  You can always tell if you're talking to someone from a foreign call centre if, when confirming your shipping address, they rhyme it with "sponge".

Supertest is a favourite of mine.  It sounds like a place where exciting science experiments happen, or maybe car races.

Once, while house-hunting, I visited a street called Dingwall.  Even if the house hadn't been a wreck, I don't know if I would have considered it.  I wouldn't want to have an address on Dingwall.

The list of bizarre Toronto street names certainly wouldn't be complete without mentioning Cummer.

I've never understood why certain streets are referred to as "the" followed by their name.  Danforth Avenue is commonly known as The Danforth.  There's also The Queensway.  But no one ever refers to The Yonge, or The Supertest.  (Or, I must add, The Cummer.)

When Ken and I were hunting for condos a few years ago, we ran across quite a few condo developments that had named their private drives creatively.  My two favourites were from the same complex.  There was Fashion Roseway, and Flaming Roseway.

I was thinking that it would be pretty cool if we combined some of our odd street names to make even better names, such as The Flaming Queensway.

Obviously they should put me in charge of naming new streets.  Now that this post is up, I'll be waiting for the job offer.


DarcKnyt said...

Oh, how uninteresting my street names feel now! Of course, we have a few oddities in pronunciation of our own.

When I first moved here I noticed a sign over a highway for a place called "Des Plaines". Of course, I immediately burst into laughter, hearing Herve Villachaize shout, "De Plane! De PLANE!"

Come to find out, however, this is NOT the correct pronunciation. It's pronounced "Dess Planes" -- very much like it's spelled. Very deflating. I got into something of a debate with a local native who tried to convince me their way was correct by virtue of it being THEIR town, NOT mine.

I think your street names are more fun, though. :)

Jameil said...

Man I hope you get that job!! Parkview Park is hilarious! Every city I've lived in has some crazy or outsider unfriendly names. Charlotte has Kuykendall ((koo-ken-doll)). Winston-Salem has Bethabara ((beth-ab-ara)) and Sprague ((sprayg)). Gainesville has Micanopy ((Mik-uh-no-pee))-- actually its own small town. Pittsburgh has a ton that of course I can't think of right now. And don't get me started on all the French street names New Orleanians don't pronounce in ANY way like French. My friend from New Orleans LOVED hearing my French pronunciations for those streets. She'd erupt in laughter! LOL

wigsf3 said...

When I was a little kid, I had some family living on Cummer. I totally didn't get it back then. They have since moved.

I think Supertest may have been named after the no-longer existant gas station chain Supertest.

And the dumbest thing about The Danforth is that there are two Danforth's in Toronto. AND THEY INTERSECT! How can one be "the" when there are two? Should be "A danforth" because there's more than one.

Jenski said...

Haha - those are great streets!

I remember some "What's your porn star name?" meme at one point. I believe you are supposed to use your middle name as your first name and the street name that you grew up on as your last name. I would be Rae Hewitt.

Sparkling Red said...

DarcKnyt: I'm glad to know that you had the correct French pronunciation. French is such a beautiful language. I hate to hear it mangled.

Jameil: Even the simplest street names can be difficult to pronounce if you've never heard them before. When I took the bus to my parents' new house for the first time I asked the bus driver if the bus stopped at Ranee. I pronounced the first syllable like the past tense of "run". Apparently it's supposed to be said "rainy". Who knew?

wigsf: I would suggest "The Danforth" and "The Other Danforth".

Jenski: I would be Annie St. Clements. :-)

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Lee Darbyhurst here!! Hmmm... wonder if there is an Up street somewhere?? Like, "Meet me at the intersection of Up and Cummer."

DarcsFalcon said...

Hahahaha! I love your take on this Spark! And I hope you get that job, you're a natural! :D

Granny Annie said...

I will never forget having to walk to my hated piano lessons once a week on "Going Snake".

Lynn said...

I used to live on Cobble Mill Lane. You could argue that it was a lane, but there was no mill in sight - let alone cobblestones. :)

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: Up Street, eh? I can see that generating some "Who's On First" type exchanges. "Which way to the CN Tower?" "Well go three blocks, then turn down Up Street..."

DarcsFalcon: Thanks! Can I use you as a reference for the job application?

Granny Annie: Going Snake? Seriously? That beats out every street in Toronto for pure weirdness.

Lynn: I hear you. I live not far from a main street called Bayview, and I can assure you that at no point along that street, from the top of the city to just shy of the lake's edge, is there a view of a bay.

Tracy Makara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy Makara said...

Oh Spark! Your sense of humor is so awesome. You can make me giggle with the best of them :)

P.S. One of the words in the code I had to type to post this is that would be a fine street name. Haha