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From Empire State Building builder to NHL hockey legend, Ward 7 streets honour Newmarket notables

In this week's Remember This, History Hound Richard MacLeod finalizes his series that looks at the history behind the names of streets in Ward 7

This article continues our series examining the provenance of Newmarket’s street names, as we find ourselves in Ward 7, bordered by McCaffrey Road to the south, Green Lane to the north, Bathurst Street to the west and Davis Drive to the east. I still have some strays to examine, so I anticipate one more article at the very least. 

Alexander Drive was named for Samuel Alexander Doner, who farmed lot 94, first concession west of Yonge Street. The farm and barns, which were demolished in 1980 along with the Crossland farm, made up the Glenway subdivision.

Brammar Street carries the Brammar family name, pioneers from the Sharon area and participants in the 1837 Rebellion. Joseph Brammar was a longtime firefighter and town building inspector.

Brimson Drive is named after John Brimson, a carriage maker whose home and business were on the north side of Millard Avenue between Main and Raglan streets. His son was the superintendent of the Cane factory for more than 30 years. 

Crossland Gate carries the name of James Crossland and his son, Ernest Crossland. They owned lot 95 just west of Yonge Street and part of lot 94 east of Yonge, the area west of Lorne Avenue and east of Yonge. The land was annexed by the town in 1951 and James would further subdivide the area leading to the construction of Millard Avenue being extended to Yonge. Ernest (Ernie) operated a farm in the area west of Yonge until the 1980s when the Glenway subdivision was developed.

Eves Court was named after Walter Eves, a lumber merchant on Davis Drive east of Main dating from 1906. He was a town councillor and our mayor from 1917 to 1921.

Hutchcroft Court carries the name of George Hutchcroft, a wagon maker on the west side of Main Street, between Queen Street and Millard Avenue dating from the 1860s.

John Bowser Crescent is named after John Bowser, who was a building contractor who worked on many famous buildings in the U.S. and Canada, including the Empire State Building in New York. He farmed the old Rogers property at Davis and Yonge, southwest corner, before selling the property to James Crossland.

Marsden Court carries the name of J.W. Marsden, a miller who owned and operated a grain mill east of the railway tracks between Water and Timothy streets that burned down in 1875 and also a granary at the corner of Main and Davis.  

Mathews Court is named after Norman Mathews, a barrister and town councillor from 1924 to 1947. He was also the town clerk and treasurer between 1925 and 1945. He established the firm of Mathews, Lyons, Stiver and Vale on Main Street on the east side at Botsford. He lived on the northwest corner of Elm and Park Avenue.

Eugene McCaffrey (McCaffrey Road) was a florist on Main Street for years, but he is far better known for his community work. A gifted entertainer back in the 1950s, McCaffrey started the Lions Music Festival, a landmark that has stood the test of time. He wrote the invaluable two-volume Memorable Merchants and Trades of Newmarket with my uncle, George Luesby, and looked after the town’s flower beds for years.

James Otton, a local barrister and our mayor from 1960 to 1961, had Otton Road named after him. He also served as the assistant Crown attorney for the area in 1962. 

Peever Crescent was named for Dr. Mervin Peever, a general practitioner locally from 1946. His office and home were located on the northwest corner of Park Avenue and Church Street. Interestingly, he was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame and during the Second World War he served in the British Navy as lieutenant surgeon commander.

Rannie Road, which straddles both Wards 6 and 7, carries the name of William Rannie, who was the principal of Prospect Street Public School from 1877 to 1999 and then the first principal of Alexander Muir School on Prospect Street.

Sykes Road is named for Samuel Sykes, a talented local engineer who owned and operated an iron foundry and machine shop on the north side of Davis, east of the Holland River in the 1860s. In 1866, he constructed a house at 57 Main St. South.     

Art West Avenue is named after Art West who was one of the driving forces in the Newmarket music scene from the 1930s to late 1950s. Along with Max Boag, he provided most of the big band music to be heard in the area, particularly during the Second World War era.

Chilcott Crescent is named after the famous Newmarket classical actress. A member of the iconic Davis family, owners of the Davis Tannery and sister to Donald, they were famous in the theatre community.  

READ MORE: Davis siblings created legacy that lives on in Canadian professional theatre

A name that is still recognizable to most around town is that of Cliff Gunn, whose name graces Cliff Gunn Road. He was part of Newmarket Fire Services for years and became our fire chief.

Bonshaw Avenue and Dawson Manor Boulevard are both named after famous local family homes that graced their namesake streets. Both homes were removed from Yonge Street north of Davis Drive and are located behind the Staples Store.   

Binns Avenue gets its name from a longtime merchant on Main Street who owned a gigantic general store that seemed to exist for generations and served as a flagship location on Main Street. 

Another street named after a prominent merchant is Beare Trail, which carries the name of Stewart Beare, a furniture store owner for years on Main Street.

Roadhouse Boulevard is named after Samuel Roadhouse, an early merchant in the burial profession. He eventually partnered with Lyman Rose, hence the name Roadhouse and Rose.

Needler Crescent is named after Larry Needler, who started the Newmarket bus system and owned an early cab company in Newmarket.

Dean Burton Way is named after Dean Burton who served as a Newmarket councillor in the late 1990s before leaving Newmarket. Ray Snow Boulevard is also named after a former town councillor. 

Dowson Loop carries the name of John Dowson, who was a fixture on Rogers Cable 10 where he had his own program. Dowson also is involved in the local theatre scene and was a driving force in the establishment of the ward system in Newmarket. 

Davis Drive carries the name of the Davis family that owned the renowned Davis Tannery on Davis Drive just east of the railway tracks. Several generations of the family served on local council and A.J. Davis served as our mayor from 1928 to 1930. Davis Drive, originally called Huron Street, was renamed by council in the 1950s to honour the family for their service to Newmarket.

Borland Court is named after the man, who along with William Roe, were prominent fur traders and maintained a trading post on the southwest corner of Main and Water streets. Borland was involved in several ventures in early Newmarket including an early hotel / tavern and a mill in Holland Landing. 

Yonge Street was named by Gov. Simcoe after Sir George Yonge, British parliamentarian, and minister of state for war from 1782 to 1794.

It is one of the first streets laid out by Simcoe and it extended, in 1794, from the town of York (Toronto) at Bloor Street to Lake Simcoe and was an early magnet for the immigration of the U.S. Quakers around 1801.   

Herb Cain Avenue carries the name of local NHL hockey legend Herb Cain.

Williamson Family Hollow carries the Williamson Family name. The Pearson Williamson family owned a large home on the corner of Grace and Queens Crescent while they operated Newmarket Dairy until the 1950s.

The dairy was involved in various activities around town, including sponsoring minor sports teams and participating in the Santa parades.Ted Williamson, a son, was involved in the establishment of the Newmarket Curling club. 

The next generation of the family has remained involved in various town activities, including the Terry Fox annual run, Kinsmen Club and Whipper Watson Telethon.  The family also has a history of military service to the town.

Ward 7 is also the location of Kwapis Boulevard, named after Bob Kwapis, town councillor, who had the successful bid at a charity fundraiser held by Habitat for Humanity for the street naming.

This ends my exploration of the provenance of our town street names. I will return to this topic in the coming months as I try to catch up on some of the streets that I have missed along the way.

Sources: The 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; Town of Newmarket’s Planning Department; 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.