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Distant relative of Buffalo Bill, NHL player among those honoured on Newmarket streets

In this week's continuing series on Remember This, History Hound Richard MacLeod delves into the background of the names in Ward 5

In our continuing series on Newmarket street names,  we move on to Ward 5.  However, let us first look at a couple of the streets left over from Ward 4. 

Brooks Howard Court is named after a farmer with strong historical roots in the community. He was the son of a prominent Quaker family who settled on Yonge Street, connected through his own marriage and those of his family with many of the founding families of the area. 

As a prosperous farmer and landowner on North Main street, Howard was a major contributor to the Christian Church in Newmarket and instrumental in the decoration and support of the present building. The Brooks Howard House (also known as Sunny Hill Farms) is located at 365 Main St. North and was constructed circa 1850. 

Gwillimbury Road takes its name from the fact that this area was part of East Gwillimbury prior to its amalgamation with Newmarket in the 1970s. 

The theme of naming streets after their British counterparts, which I mentioned in the previous article, may explain the existence of Carlisle Street, Bexhill Road and Malvern Crescent in Ward 4.

Ward 5 is my home ward, having grown up there and chosen to locate there.  I would suggest to all those who seldom find occasion to leave their home ward that getting out and exploring all the parts of our town, as I have done during the writing of this series will afford you an opportunity to experience all areas of this glorious town and to relish the diversity and kindness displayed in each ward as I have.

Arden Avenue was named by Charles MacAuley for his ancestral home, Arden Manor, in the Loch Lomond area of Scotland in 1860. MacAuley was a Main Street merchant who purchased the land between Millard Avenue and Queen Street in 1910 and created two streets, Joseph Street and Arden Avenue.

Armitage Drive was named for the Armitage Family who were among the first settlers on the east side of Yonge Street in 1801. Amos came from Pennsylvania to lot 92 east of Yonge Street. Known for their longevity, many lived well over 90 years. 

Aubrey Court carries the name of Aubrey Smith, a Newmarket councillor from 1969 to 1980, the son of Robert Smith, a longtime Main Street hardware store merchant.

Beswick Drive is named for Christopher Beswick, a British army surgeon, who came to Canada after completing his service. For years he was the only doctor in this area and a great supporter of the Church of England.  

Botsford Street is named after the John Botsford family who had both a home and a business just south of Botsford on Main. He married into the Millard family, acquiring the land on the south side of Botsford, west of Main to Church and west to Lorne Avenue. Both the home and business burned in the 1870s.

The Cane Parkway is named for the Cane family, 19th-century lumber merchants and manufacturers of woodenware at the Cane Factory on Davis and Bayview (former site of Dixon Pencil). William Cane was our first mayor in 1858 and his sons served on council and as our mayor as well.

Max Boag developed the land in the area around Avenue Road as a subdivision. Carol Street carries the name of his daughter, James Avenue is named after his son-in-law, and Scott Avenue after his son.

Cawthra Crescent is named for the Cawthra family. John Cawthra was an early Main Street merchant on the northwest corner of Main and Water Street. He was one of the founders of the St. Paul’s Anglican Church. His home and business are still there. He moved to Toronto after the 1837 Rebellion and is immortalized in the naming of several streets and parks after him there.

Church Street carries this name because of the location of three churches in the past: The Congregational, later the Quaker and then the Mormon Church at the corner of Botsford Street, the Presbyterian Church at Timothy Street, and St. Paul’s Anglican at D’Arcy Street. Only St. Paul’s Anglican church remains on the street, although the Congregational church building is still there but is no longer a church.

Cody Crescent carries the name of the Cody family, Quakers who migrated to the Newmarket area from Massachusetts along with Timothy Rogers in around 1801. A cool fact is that they are said to be distant relatives of Buffalo Bill Cody fame. 

College Street is named after Pickering College, which overlooks the street. This street was initially called Elm Street.

Concession Street is on the east side of the second concession, east of Yonge Street, and is located on a major flood plain area. Only parts of the street still exist from the original township survey, between Queen Street and Wellington Street in Aurora and between Bayview and Cotter Streets here in Newmarket.

Cotter Street is named for Colonel Cotter who owned a mill at the foot of what is now Water Street and the land on either side of Fairy Lake in the mid-19th century. At the time, Fairy Lake was known as Cotter’s Mill Pond.   

Currey Crescent is named after Brock Currey, a lawyer on Main Street and the mayor of Newmarket in 1927. He resigned as mayor mid-term and moved his practice to North Bay. His family were early settlers in the East Gwillimbury area.

Another street named after a former mayor is Gladman Avenue. Herbert Gladman was a Canada Express and Telegraph agent in 1919, a motor vehicle agent in 1921, a town councillor from 1931 to 1932 and then mayor from 1954 to 1957.

Denne Boulevard is named after Charles Denne, the son of Vincent Denne. He operated a packing house on the south side of Davis Drive between Main and Superior streets. According to a 1901 Era, he is said to have shipped eggs to Britain and moved 75 tons of pickles a year.

Dixon Boulevard carries the name of William Dixon, town councillor from 1936 to 1937 and a foreman at the Office Specialty. He lived on Timothy Street just east of Main Street.

Helmer Street is named after Harry Helmer, a foreman at Office Specialty. He established a small subdivision west of Lorne Avenue and south of Avenue Road with Stanley Miller.

Hodgson Drive carries the name of William Hodgson, a provincial politician for over 20 years, after having served as the reeve of King and warden of York County.  

John Street is a tiny little street named after John Botsford which cuts through the subdivision built on the former Botsford estate.

Joseph Street carries the name of the early owner of the land in this area, Joseph Millard.

Kathryn Crescent and Edward Street carry the names of the daughter and son of Charles Boyd who developed the Beechwood and Avenue Road area.

Kent Drive was named after Bert Kent, who was a town councillor from 1955 to 1958 and then was our mayor from 1962 to 1966.    

Lloyd Avenue is named for David Lloyd who served as our town clerk and treasurer from 1876 to 1904. He also served as the justice of the peace and was the issuer of both marriage licences and death certificates for the area.

Lorne Avenue carries the name of the Marquis of Lorne, who was the governor general of Canada who visited Newmarket in July of 1881 and laid the cornerstone at the Christian Church on Main Street.

Every town seems to have a street named either Main Street or High Street. Our Main Street is likely named as such since it was both the initial route for our Indigenous peoples through the area from the north and the original site of our pioneer growth. Known first as the second concession under the British system of mapping, it is essentially the Main Street of Newmarket.  

Mulock Drive is named in honour of Sir William Mulock, politician, lawyer, and statesman. Sir William Mulock served as our first postmaster general, introducing the first postal stamps, then as our first Labour minister in 1900, as the chief justice in 1923 and the chancellor of the University of Toronto. His home still stands on the northwest corner of Mulock and Yonge.  

As we have observed in other wards that there often is a theme to the naming of many of the streets. Ward 5 has adopted the names of the Canadian lakes and rivers for its street names with Ontario Street and Superior Street carrying the names of the Great Lakes (remember Davis Drive used to be named Huron Street) and Erie Street was never opened. Simcoe Street is named after Lake Simcoe and Niagara Street was named after the mighty Niagara River. 

Penrose Street is named for Ezra Penrose and his family, descendants of Joseph and Harriet Playter Penrose who came to the area in 1801. They owned a series of farms along Mulock Drive when I was a youth.

Queen Street was originally called Mill Street and Victoria Street, before it was renamed Queen Street by order of council to honour Queen Victoria in 1886.

Rogers Road is named for Timothy Rogers, a Quaker who in 1801 obtained a grant of land for 40 farms of 200 acres each along Yonge Street and brought the Quaker settlers from the U.S. to settle locally.

Stanley Street carries the name of Stanley Miller, a builder and contractor who developed a small enclave of housing in the area just west of Lorne Avenue between Avenue Road and Eagle Street.

Tecumseth Street was named after Chief Tecumseth, famous for his efforts in support of the British forces during the War of 1812 in the Brockville area.  

Thoms Crescent takes its name from William ‘Bill’ Thoms, a professional hockey player, first here in Newmarket with the champion Redman Memorial Cup team of the 1930s and then in the NHL with both Toronto and Chicago. The family were all deeply involved with sports.

Timothy Street takes its name from Timothy Millard, owner of the farm from which the area was to develop. It is said to have been the laneway into his farm. It opened as a street when Newmarket was incorporated as a village in 1858.

Victoria Street was created after the R.H. Smith lands were redeveloped in 1874 and named in tribute to Queen Victoria. 

Water Street got its name because it provided the only passage over the Holland River at the time. Immediately to the south of the street dams were constructed creating a mill pond (Fairy Lake) to service the many early mills. 

Webb Court is named after Alfred Webb, who had his medical office at 171 Main St. South and was the son-in-law of E.J. Davis, mayor and owner of the Davis Tannery.

William Roe Boulevard carries the name of the merchant who established a store on the northeast corner of Main and Water streets in 1814.  He was Newmarket’s second postmaster from 1837 to 1879. The street was initially named Bankbrook but it was changed by an order in council in 1974.

For more information on many of these people or events that I have referred to in this article, you can go to and read my earlier articles.

Next week, we will take a break from street names and begin our look at the story of the Queen’s Rangers and their place in our local history.

Sources:  Newmarket Era and Newmarket Topic; Newmarket - The Origin of Street Names Volume 1 by George Luesby 1991 and Volume 2 by Robert Terrence Carter 2009; Stories of Newmarket by Robert Terence Carter; The History of Newmarket by Ethel Trewhella 


Newmarket resident Richard MacLeod, the History Hound, has been a local historian for more than 40 years. He writes a weekly feature about our town's history in partnership with Newmarket Today, conducts heritage lectures and walking tours of local interest, and leads local oral history interviews.