Feb. 22, 2018
By Arianne Robinson
Attention map enthusiasts and urban explorers! Six streets were named at community council meetings on Wednesday.
None were named after women (although women were involved in some of the stories), half were named after men, and one was named after a family, one a garden, and one after efforts in war.
Out of the six, three were named after individuals (Stanley G. Grizzle Lane, Theo Aben Lane, Campbell Russell Lane), one was given a family name (Pirillo Lane) and two were named according to other neighbourhood legacy (Vimy Ridge Way, Peaceful Way).
Here are the backstories, according to the applicants for the laneways.
Pirillo Lane (Dupont St./Clinton St.)
This newly named public lane is located east of Clinton Street and extends south from Dupont. An application was submitted from a woman to honour the memory of her parents, who lived nearby from 1959 for decades, after immigrating from Italy and helping other families emigrate to Canada. The applicant writes in her application, “My family’s story displays what Canada stands for. A place where a newcomer, an immigrant can make a positive difference in his own life and his family’s life while contributing to the wellbeing of others in the neighbourhood. It is this passion that continues in my family today and it will hopefully transfer into the naming on the laneway in the rear of 908 Manning Avenue.”
Campbell Russell Lane (Kensington Market)
This newly named public lane is located within the block bounded by College Street, Augusta Avenue, Oxford Street and Bellevue Avenue – near St. Stephen-in-the-Fields and St. Stephen’s Community House. Social justice activist, Anglican priest and poet Maggie Helwig is the applicant for the laneway name to honour Rev. Campbell Russell, who is still alive and gave his consent. Helwig writes Russell was “the incumbent at the Church of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields from 1972 to 1982 and was a significant figure in the Kensington Market community. He was instrumental in the founding of St. Stephen’s Community House as the independent multi-service agency it now is, and served on their first board of directors; he created the Stop 103 food bank, which later developed into the Stop Community Food Centre; and he was a pioneer in intercultural ministry during the period when many immigrants from the Caribbean were settling in Kensington Market. His vision of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields as a place which exists to serve everyone in the community, regardless of their religious affiliation, continues to this day.”
Theo Aben Lane (St. Clair Ave. W./Vaughan Rd.)
This newly named public lane is located north of St. Clair Avenue West between Vaughan Road and Kenwood Avenue. The applicant submitted the application to honour her late husband. “Theo Aben was the original owner of the ice cream shop Dutch Dreams, now run by his son and daughter-in-law. The original location was at 78 Vaughan Road and directly adjacent to the lane being named.” The application states that Theo and Dina Aben were the original husband-and-wife team behind the shop when it was known for offering a rotating selection of more than 60 ice cream flavours. Theo Aben passed away in 2015.
Peaceful Way (Shuter St./Sackville St.)
The north/south section of Sutton Avenue will be renamed based on a request from Daniels Corporation on behalf of Toronto Community Housing Corporation requiring that the north/south portion of Sutton Avenue be renamed in order to avoid confusion with the east-west portion of Sutton Avenue. The applicant says they went through an extensive community engagement process. “Prior to the start of the revitalization of Regent Park, a group of mothers, named The Dreamers, were instrumental in advocating for change in Regent Park. One of their lasting achievements was the creation of the Peace Garden, a small green space intended as a memorial garden south of Dundas Street. The Peace Garden, which was removed during the revitalization, was replaced in the northwest corner of Regent Park.”
Stanley G. Grizzle Lane (Main St./Danforth Ave.)
This newly named public lane is located west of Main Street, extending south from Doncaster Avenue. The applicant, the president of the East York Historical Society, wrote in his application, “Stanley G. Grizzle was an influential black leader within the Canadian labour movement, and a dynamic force in the civil rights community. He held many prominent roles including a Canadian citizenship judge, soldier, political candidate, and activist. Stanley G. Grizzle was born on November 18, 1918 in Toronto (St. Joseph’s Hospital) to Jamaican immigrant parents Adelaide nee Sinclair and Theodore Grizzle at the end of World War I in 1918. Stanley G. Grizzle became a railway porter at 22 to help support his family. He founded the Railway Porter’s Trade Union Council and served as an officer of the Toronto CPR Division of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP). Mr. Grizzle was a delegate to the Toronto Labour Council, a member of the Toronto Labour Committee for Human Rights, an associate editor and columnist for Contrast, a black community newspaper and penned the book My Name’s Not George: The Story of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in Canada.” The applicant writes that Grizzle was one of the first black candidates to run in an Ontario election, worked as an officer with the Ontario Labour Relations Board in the early 1960s, and became the first black member of a trade union. In 1978, he was appointed a Citizenship Judge. Grizzle had also received the Order of Ontario, Order of Canada, and the Order of Distinction from Jamaica for his valuable contributions to Canadian society. Grizzle died on Nov. 12, 2016. There is a park named after him four blocks north of the laneway.
Vimy Ridge Way (St. Clair Ave. W./Oakwood Ave.)
This application is for a ceremonial name to be added to the existing street name of Glenhurst Avenue, resulting in the installation of special signage along the selected street but not changing the official name. The applicant is the local Councillor Cesar Palacio, who submitted a petition signed by Glenhurst Avenue residents to show support, as well as receiving support from the local Royal Canadian Legion branch. The councillor says that there was originally a Vimy Ridge Avenue created in York Township east of Oakwood Avenue in 1918, until it was changed a decade later to Glenhurst Avenue. The councillor writes some of the history in his application but says there is no record of it in newspapers or elsewhere. The ceremonial name is not to be confused with the real street name, Vimy Avenue, located near Jane Street and Lawrence Avenue West.