republic rathnelly

Toronto's quirkiest neighbourhood is renaming a bunch of streets

If there was an award for quirkiest Toronto neighbourhood, the Republic of Rathnelly would probably take first prize.

Officially founded in 1967, the area tucked between Poplar Plains and Avenue Road, just north of Dupont declared itself an independent republic on the occasion of Canada's centennial celebration.

More than just a lighthearted ploy for attention, residents took the seemingly bizarre measure of secession as a way to protest the planned Spadina Expressway that would have cut right through the neighbourhood.

That was almost 50 years ago. While the character of the neighbourhood has changed as property values have skyrocketed, the Republic of Rathnelly still takes pride in its rebellious history with annual celebrations and a longstanding track record of civic engagement.

To mark its semicentennial, the Republic is hosting a street party on Saturday, June 17 at which a series of new laneway names will be revealed.

In honour of the neighbourhood's history and independent spirit, they'll feature quirky monikers like "Rebellion Lane" and "Stop Spadina Lane" in addition to paying tribute to longtime residents like artist Michael Snow and Rathnelly Area Residents Association co-founder Robin Fraser.

There will be lots of food, drink and general merriment to mark the important anniversary of this unique Toronto neighbourhood.

Lead photo by

Greg's Southern Ontario


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