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Ward 2 street names honour Pickering College, farmers, merchants, politicians

In this week's Remember This, History Hound Richard MacLeod continues his series exploring the origins of Newmarket's street names

As we continue our look at the provenance of street names in Ward 2, we will learn about old merchant families, politicians, doctors and professional people and our pioneer families.

We have frequently named a street after someone who has served the community in a professional capacity, such as Robert Alexander (Alexander Road), a teacher at the Newmarket Common School on Millard Avenue from 1858 to 1873. 

We have been blessed with merchants who have served our community for decades, quite often for several generations. Bondi Avenue commemorates the Bondi family, who were involved in the fruit and vegetable business for years, starting with their patriarch Joseph. I remember the Bondi warehouse on  Doug Duncan Street when I was a child and they lived down the street on Queen Street.

Dutch Elliott Court carries the name of Mr. Elliott, who was a service station owner who would eventually form Elliott Collision, still in business today.  William Geer (Geer Terrace) operated one of Newmarket’s first car dealerships in partnership with George Byers. Geer sat on the board of Newmarket High School and the Memorial Arena and was a longtime member of the Lions Club.

Jeff Smith Court is named after Jeff Smith who ran a plumbing and heating business here in Newmarket starting in the 1940s right through to the 1970s. I still see their trucks around town.

Manning Crescent was named for Gordon Manning, who was the president and managing director of Office Specialty, the largest employer in Newmarket at one time. He would also sit on both the York County Hospital and Newmarket High School boards of directors. 

Srigley Street was named for Robert Srigley, a Quaker who purchased 200 acres of land east of Prospect Street in 1808. The Srigley family were prominent merchants / manufacturers throughout the area for generations. The military camp and Fairgrounds sat on former Srigley land. 

Stickwood Court was named for William Stickwood, owner of the Stickwood Brickworks east of Prospect Street behind the Crow’s Nest. His bricks can be found in many of the buildings in Newmarket.  I wrote an earlier article on he and his brick works for Newmarket Today. 

Donald Sutherland, a miller and merchant and the first reeve of the village of Newmarket in 1858, had Sutherland Avenue named in his honour. His mill was located east of the railway tracks between Timothy and Water Street where the seniors buildings are located today. His son, Robert, served as the chief justice and speaker of the House of Commons in Ottawa in 1905. 

Mr. Perrin was a florist and grower on Main Street in the early 1900s who occupied the old Gorham house on Gorham Street where he maintained a number of greenhouses. Later, other members of the family (latterly Stu Perrin) continued the family business on Main Street until the late 1970s. Perrin Avenue was named to honour the family.

Little Court is named after John Orr Little, a businessman who retailed heating coal beginning in the early 1920s. He would later become involved in local politics, becoming the warden of York County in 1936.  

Pritchard Place carries the name of Robert Pritchard, the treasurer of the Office Specialty, as well as being active within our community, his church and was a member of the Newmarket Lawn Bowling Club.

Rudy Renzius (Renzius Court) was an internationally recognized craftsman, joining the staff of Pickering College in the years leading up to the Second World War and remainjing there for 25 years until his retirement in the late 1950s. Renzius also served on our town council from the late 1940s to 1953. 

Riddell Court is named after the Riddell family, Leslie, Daniel and David, who owned a bakery on Main Street beginning in 1927 that was renowned for its quality baking. They also had a location on Queen street at the bridge, on the north side where they produced larger items for sale throughout the greater Newmarket area.

William Firth (Firth Court) was a teacher and minister with the Society of Friends (Quakers), who became the principal at Pickering College in 1891. When he retired, he continued to serve on their board of directors until his death in 1934.

Fred Hagen Court takes its name from Fred Hagen, who was a famous Canadian artist and instructor at the Ontario College of Art. He also taught at Pickering College, living on Lundy’s Lane where I first met him while visiting my grandparents. 

If you are a fan of the Newmarket Citizens’ Band, then you will remember William (Bill) Greig (Greig Circle) who joined the band in 1930 and became the bandmaster in 1948, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1981. 

Frank Stewart was a longtime Newmarket merchant and a member of the Tuscan Lodge (Masons) in the 1890s.

Harry Beer Court carries the name of the man who became the headmaster of Pickering College in 1953, serving until 1987. Beer attended the school in 1927 and then returned as a teacher, being appointed assistant headmaster in 1947. 

Rourke Place takes its name from Robert Rourke, who succeeded Harry Beer as headmaster of Pickering College in June 1953.

The Bogart Family have three streets named after them, all in the same general area around Bogart Pond in what was once Bogarttown: Bogart Avenue, Bogart Mill Trail, and On Bogart Circle. John and Mary Bogart emigrated to the area in 1802, establishing the hamlet of Bogarttown and constructing a series of mills utilizing the water from the pond he created.  

Several generations of the family became prominent merchants and citizens. Egart Bogart helped to establish the library, and Moses Bogart was a longstanding Main Street merchant who was at one time Robert Simpson’s partner.

Town councillors, former mayors and longtime town employees are often memorialized with the naming of street names.  John Cole Crescent is named for an optometrist who served as our mayor from 1994 to 1997.

Legge Court is named for Sydney Legge, town councillor from 1934 to 1936, then reeve from 1961 to 1966 and finally York County warden in 1965. His farm was located north of Srigley Street at Alexander Road and was annexed by the town to build a subdivision.  

Many of you will remember the town-wide festivities in 1980 when the town celebrated its 100th anniversary as an incorporated town. The chairperson of that event was Dianne Humeniuk, who seemed to be everywhere. Humeniuk served on Newmarket council and as our regional councillor under mayor Tom Taylor. Along with the centennial celebrations, she was also involved in so many other events both as a citizen and as part of her duties on council.  In recognition of all her contributions, she was honoured with the naming of Humeniuk Court located just off Gorham Street at Carlson Drive.

Vale Avenue honours Joseph Vale, barrister and partner in Mathews, Lyons, Stiver and Vale on Main Street. He served on town council from 1935 to 1936, 1943, and 1946, then as deputy reeve from 1937 to 1942. He made history when he became the first catholic mayor here in Newmarket serving from 1947 to 1953.  

Wesley Avenue carries the name of Joseph Wesley, a doctor whose office was located at 160 Main St. South.  He served York County as the coroner in 1894, as medical officer of health from 1934 to 1946 and as a physician at the Industrial Home (York Manor) for 34 years. He had the first x-ray machine in town, which he donated to York County Hospital when it was built in 1927.

Another physician who had a street named after him was Dr. Thomas Pyne (Pine Street). He served as the reeve of the village of Newmarket in 1862. He had his office and home at the corner of Gorham Street and what is now Pine Street, where his home still stands.  

Some individuals are lucky enough to get two streets named after them. In my last article, we looked at Dales Avenue, named after Dr. Lowell Dales, and then the town also created Lowell Avenue to further honour Dr. Dales.

Many farmers’ lands were annexed or purchased for new subdivisions. A perk of having your farm become a new residential development was having a street, usually on the former farm property, named after you and your family. Pearson Street, near the old high school, was named for Samuel Pearson, a farmer on lot 32, the second concession of Whitchurch, east side of Prospect Street. The street was his laneway leading to his house that still stands. Portions of his land became part of the Pickering College property.

Sometimes a street takes its name from a son or daughter of the landowner and such is the case with Charlotte Street South.The area was part of the farm owned by Levi and Amelia Rogers. When it became a residential development, one of the streets took on the name of their daughter, Charlotte. 

When the new subdivision was built on the former lands owned by Pickering College, a street named College Manor Drive was created to memorialize the former owners of the land.  If you read my article on Pickering College, you will find out how it was that Pickering College decided to sell the land for development.

Roeder Court takes its name from Al Roeder, who held the position of administrator of York County Hospital beginning around 1959. 

The providence of Legion Avenue is straightforward. The original mess hall for the Second World War Newmarket military camp was converted into the Milton Wesley Legion Hall (426) after the war and the road leading up to the hall was named in honour of the Legion.  

I am taking a break from my street naming series and next week will look at the history of the Holland River. We will return to our examination of the streets of our Wards presently so if you are waiting for your street to be covered, please be patient. 

Sources:  The Newmarket Era; Newmarket - The Origin of Street Names Volume 1 by George Luesby 1991 and Volume 2 by Robert Terrence Carter 2009; 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.