Tuesday, October 25, 2016Overcast 7°C

The lost street names of Toronto

Posted by Chris Bateman / March 17, 2012

Lost StreetsEarlier this week we saw how Google Maps is helping chart Toronto's forgotten laneways, paths and trails to make for a more comprehensive map of the city, potentially at the loss of a little mystery. Despite the current map being extremely detailed, it turns out there are still plenty of gaps.

There are, however, some routes that get lost and stay lost. Generally speaking, Toronto's street grid has remained largely unchanged since the early days of the city, but there are a few examples of streets which have demolished, renamed or absorbed into other routes, never to be seen again. Here's a look at a few:

Albert, Louisa and Alice Streets (Eaton Centre)Lost Streets Eaton Centre AltThe image above shows Albert, Louisa and Alice as they appeared before both city halls or the Eaton Centre were built. The blue highlighted area shows the footprint of the shopping centre today that partially severed or erased the streets from the map.

Albert Street, still partially hanging on behind new city hall, was named for the husband of Queen Victoria, Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. His death from typhoid in 1861 had a profound effect on the monarch. The block that includes Osgoode Hall, City Halls I and II, and several other buildings has been significantly altered over the years leaving only a few fragments of the original layout.

Terauley, Saint Vincent and North Streets (Bay Street)Lost Streets Terauley Saint Vincent North(Image rotated 90 degrees)

The first incarnation of Bay Street, which was originally called Bear Street, ended at Queen. North of Queen several unconnected streets - Terauley, Saint Vincent and North - would eventually form the extension of Bay to Bloor, a fact still visible in the diagonal intersection at Queen and Bay. The blue line shows the current route of Bay north of Gerrard to Bloor.

Terauley Street was named after Terauley Cottage, the home of John Simcoe Macaulay, an early political figure and godson of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. The word is thought to be a portmanteau of Ter, a Gaelic word for land, and a slightly altered spelling of the latter part of Macaulay.

Duke and Duchess Streets (Richmond and Adelaide)Lost Streets Duke Duchess

Although we've hung on to King, Queen and Princess Streets there used to be more rank-based street names. Duke and Duchess Streets once ran parallel with the waterfront east from Jarvis Street before both were absorbed into other routes as part of the construction of the Don Valley Parkway: Duchess Street with Richmond and Duke with Adelaide. Like Bay and Queen, the diagonal intersections at Jarvis Street give away the fact two streets used to be four.

The Duke and Duchess in question were the Duke and Duchess of York, most likely Prince George (later King George V) and his wife Mary of Teck or Prince Albert (later King George VI) and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

St. Patrick, Anderson, Agnes, Crookshank, Wilton, Beech (Dundas)Lost Streets DundasDundas Street, a relative newcomer to the city, was formed by stitching together several distinctly separate streets. Major deviations at Bathurst and Yonge (forming Yonge-Dundas square) demonstrate the fact the streets didn't entirely line up. The roads listed above were renamed between Bathurst and the Don River to form Dundas. The list is even longer if you include the roads in the east end and west of Bathurst.

Czar Street
Lost Streets Czar Charles According to Liz Clayton in the National Post, Czar Street, located one block south of Bloor west of Bay, was named "in honour of the autocrat of all Russians" until it was absorbed into Charles Street. Czars were the emperors of Russia before the revolution 1917 that overthrew the monarchy. In a similar vein, Sultan Street to the north was presumably named in honour of Muslim sovereigns. The latter lives on today as a service road south of Bloor.

South Park Street
Lost Streets South Park StreetSouth Park Street ran parallel with King up to its intersection with Queen and over the Don River. A North Park Street, now Sydenham Street, ran for a block north of Queen. Perhaps named for King's Park, an open marsh on the banks of the once winding Don that was the centre of misplaced health concerns, South Park Street followed the approximate route of today's Eastern Avenue.

Don Street
Lost Streets DonAbsorbed by Gerrard, another power hungry street in Toronto, Don Street once forded the Don River to reach an entirely different Danforth Road. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Danforth Avenue and Danforth Road are named for Asa Danforth Jr., an American builder and land speculator who laid out the first road east to Kingston.

The mighty Don gets its current name from the ubiquitous John Graves Simcoe who named it after a minor river in South Yorkshire, England. The original Don is named for Dôn or Danu, a Celtic goddess.

All images from Wadsworth and Unwin's Map of the City of Toronto, 1872.



Godfrey Mallion / March 17, 2012 at 06:07 am
The Czar Street map also shows, to the right of St. Basil's College, Chapel Street. Chapel Street, along with St.Vincent Street and North Street, became Bay Street between College and Bloor Streets.
Torontonian / March 17, 2012 at 07:11 am
I've always been led to believe that Terauley Street was a portmanteau word with the surnames of John Macaulay and Elizabeth Hayter. Why the mis-spelling of the street's name, I do not know.

Macaulay was the doctor of the Queen's Rangers and his parcel of land ran from Queen and Yonge to Bay and Bloor. His house was re-positioned so that Holy Trinity Church could occupy its present site. That was back in the 1840s.

There was once a separate Hayter Street and it ran from Yonge to Bay and one block further to Laplante Ave. Hayter Street was at the south end of Eaton's College Street Store. The one block stub of Hayter Street remains.
the lemur / March 17, 2012 at 09:48 am
Near Avenue and St Clair, parts of the modern Lynwood, Balmoral and Clarendon were once named Liszt, Schiller and Humboldt, and there was a Hamburg Ave (now Bristol, I think). All of these appear to have been renamed during or after WW1.
Jane / March 17, 2012 at 10:18 am
The Duke and Duchess in question were the Duke and Duchess of York...
Zach / March 17, 2012 at 11:59 am
duke and duchess streets were in toronto pre-1834, so it's unlikely they were named after the duke and duchess of york the article cites (as they were born at least 30 years later). more likely this guy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Frederick,_Duke_of_York_and_Albany) and his wife.
norm / March 17, 2012 at 02:33 pm
Our family lived at 30 Eden Place in the mid-'50's. It ran east off Bathurst two blocks north of Queen St. I think most of it was torn down to accomodate subsidized housing in the '70's; don't know if the street no longer exists. There also was a small dead-end street running south off Dundas just east of Huron that had very dilapidated row houses on both sides. It was a lively street with lots of "action" on week-ends, dangerous to enter if you were part of the wrong gang. Many black families and poor whites or natives of which we were included.
Grant / March 17, 2012 at 02:47 pm
Great stuff.
AE replying to a comment from norm / March 17, 2012 at 03:07 pm
Eden Place still exists, but I think it acts as more of a lane way now.
Jeremy / March 17, 2012 at 04:27 pm
It's always the bane of family researchers trying to figure out where an address was - after renumbering or after renaming. Thank God for the fire maps, though they don't go far back enough to help me answer some questions. Ancestors of mine lived on Newgate and Duke Streets (both now Adelaide), Duchess Street (Richmond), Crookshank/Cruikshank (Dundas), Ann (McGill), Taylor Rd (in Regent's Park).

In North Toronto/Eglinton, Victoria Street became Blythwood. In the east end, my grandfather was born on Guelph Avenue, which became the eastern-most block of Langley.

Ancestors at 203 King Street were later at 16 King St W - and they hadn't moved! And, when I went to Malvern Collegiate in the 1970s, I lived at 666 Woodbine Ave. Presumably some new owner at that address decided to perform an exorcism on that number - it is now 668 Woodbine! (Their neighbours to the north are 670, so didn't have to go for a clunky 664 1/2.)
Jeremy / March 17, 2012 at 04:34 pm
Oh yeah, one interesting tidbit. I now live on Grenadier Rd, in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood. But, 100 years ago, Grenadier was... College Street! If you look at a map and draw a line from where College ends at Lansdowne, it goes right to Grenadier Rd. I've seen some old maps extend College all the way to High Park. Obviously, given the large gap between Lansdowne and Sorauren, (actually, St Helens to Sorauren), it's not surprising "College Street" was dropped in favour of something else.

But one thing I never understood is the crazy jog of Gerrard at Coxwell. "Follow the streetcar north" is the best piece of advice for finding that street!
Kevo / March 18, 2012 at 08:17 pm
RE: The Terauley St. and others being replaced by Bay St. You'll notice Surrey Place above (in the image, but actually west) Terauley St. When I worked at the government blocks there, they left the sign from the street when they block busted and I took a picture of it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevo89/3988731534/in/photostream

It'd be kind of neat if they did that more often, but I guess signs without streets would confuse people :P
the lemur replying to a comment from Kevo / March 18, 2012 at 09:47 pm
Doesn't Surrey Place technically still exist in that stretch, just not as a thoroughfare for motor vehicles? Parts of Chestnut St are like that.
the lemur replying to a comment from Jeremy / March 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm
Gerrard used to end just slightly east of Reid (now Rhodes). Lake View Ave was the part east of Coxwell. I guess they were joined as one street with a single name of the sake of convenience, but it still doesn't make a lot of sense.
Kevo replying to a comment from the lemur / March 19, 2012 at 12:42 am
It's a garden where the street sign was left. Here's the location, between the Whitney & MacDonald Blocks https://maps.google.ca/?ll=43.662943,-79.389063 But yes, south of Grosvenor it does still exist.
the lemur / March 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm
Here's an example of a street whose former name is very much present on site:


Richard / March 19, 2012 at 04:46 pm

Glad to see someone commented on Duke and Duchess Streets. They were from the original Town of York (1793) so were long before the future King George V and Queen Mary. There was such a profusion of children - King George III and his wife had a LOT of children - that Princess Street was originally Princes Street, that is, the plural of Prince. The extra "s" got added on in the way that people mispronounced the street name over the years, and eventually the city map makers just gave up and changed the name officially, too.
Bob L / March 20, 2012 at 09:09 am
Mincing Lane, that used to run north from Wellington west of Bay had a sign even though it got absorbed into the TD Centre, although there is still a sort of alley where it used to be. The sign finally disappeared a few years ago.

Barnaby Place exists only as a driveway out of a parking lot on the north side of Edward St. west of Bay. The sign probably won't be there for long either if that property gets developed.
BRIAN BARTLE / June 24, 2012 at 11:06 am
I am researching my family migration to Canada.In 1921, a relative emigrated and said he was destined to a cousin in Lippincott Steet, Toronto. I believe the cousin was called Mrs. H. Stag although the name is not very clear. Can anyone help with information, Please ?
. replying to a comment from norm / October 7, 2012 at 07:31 pm

Karen / July 21, 2013 at 10:17 am
Thank you. Fascinating read.
Hannah Fournier replying to a comment from Karen / October 17, 2013 at 01:31 am
What happened to Morley St? It was in the east end of Toronto, possibly in Cabbagetown.
the lemur replying to a comment from Hannah Fournier / October 17, 2013 at 09:43 am
There was a Morley Ave between Greenwood and Coxwell that is now Woodfield Rd - could that be it?
Miriam Macdonald / January 22, 2014 at 09:44 am
Queen Street was originally called Lot Street. (I suppose that's why the restaurant "Lot Street" was named thus)It would be interesting to read about Lot Street and what the land and buildings were like on that street before it was renamed. A photo would be interesting as well if one exists. The 1842 census called it Lot Street. Further down the page it lists another street called North Park Street with the name "Liberties" above the notation. There are other streets listed further down the page.
Hazel / February 7, 2014 at 09:20 am
Wright Street near High Park used to be called Duncan. And Garden Avenue Public School used to be called Argentina P.S. until the Falklands conflict.
Hazel replying to a comment from BRIAN BARTLE / February 7, 2014 at 09:41 am
Brian, I'd love to help but this site is too filled with trolls to be safe. Use ancestry.com or .ca. I think they have a trial period if you don't want to pay for a subscription.
ajc33 / February 7, 2014 at 09:52 am
In the maps titled: South Park Street and Don Street, there is a street named Pine St. I am wondering if that was renamed Sackville and used to run all the way north and not be cut off by the richmond/adelaide overpasses that were constructed in the 20th cent.
Karen replying to a comment from the lemur / February 7, 2014 at 01:01 pm
Yes, there is still part of Surrey Place between Grenville and Grosvenor. And the alley on the east side of the new Women's College Hospital has been named Terauley Lane.
Kevo / February 7, 2014 at 10:42 pm
If anyone wants old-ish maps (1880) that have street names and parcel owners, check out this site hosted at McGill: http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/countyatlas/searchmapframes.php
Other Cities: Montreal