(PHOTO: Warner-Colpitts Lane is named after Sterling Warner and Ian Colpitts, two Stittsville volunteers who were instrumental in building the Johnny Leroux Arena. We should recognize more of our community leaders – past and present – with commemorative street names.)
You have just under two weeks to submit your street name ideas to the City of Ottawa. Back in June, city staff gave residents an extended deadline of August 12 to send in their suggestions for five local streets. That was after staff received a lot of negative input about the original suggestions.
The city was right to re-open the suggestion process. Stittsville ended up with un-inspiring names like “Foilage”, “Plaintain” and “Boxty” (the Irish Pancake) in the first round.
Meanwhile, in Barrhaven, they named a street Hélène Campbell Road, the young lung transplant recipient who launched a successful organ donation campaign. In Rideau-Vanier, one of the new names is Barber Street. Born into slavery in Kentucky, Paul Barber is believed to be one of the first black settlers in Ottawa. (You can see plenty more interesting new street names across the city here.)
The City received a number of commemorative naming suggestions for Stittsville too, but they were all rejected or passed over. Some of those names didn’t meet city criteria, while others were submitted by residents without including the required commemorative naming paperwork. (A few have been reserved for future subdivisions.)
Françoise Lecrouart, a manager with the City of Ottawa’s building code services department told StittsvilleCentral.ca that some were rejected because staff wanted to avoid hurting anybody’s feelings: “It can be embarrassing for the individual if your name’s out there and nobody wants it.”
Let’s not let bureaucracy or thin skin get in the way of doing the right thing. City staff should choose names that reflect our community’s leaders, past and present.
Here are a five people who would be very deserving of a street name commemoration:
- Sergeant Marc Leger, who died in Afghanistan in 2002. His parents Richard and Claire still live in the area.
- Susanna Kemp, one of Stittsville’s early farm settlers. In 1841 her husband died, leaving her to raise seven children at the age of 34. In 1868 she built a stone inn with her son John called Kemp’s Tavern, now known as Cabotto’s.
- Tysen Lefebvre, a local teenager who’s well on his way to raising $1-million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
- Roger Griffiths, former Goulbourn Township councillor, former president of the Stittsville Legion, and former captain of the Stittsville Fire Department.
- Grace Thompson, a founder of the Stittsville Goulbourn Horticultural Society in 1962 . She contributed hundreds of volunteer hours for numerous groups in Stittsville and the greater Ottawa area.
Honouring any of these individuals — or the many more who residents have recommended — would be a fitting recognition of their contributions to our community, and their stories could inspire more residents to get involved in making Stittsville an even better place to live.
ONE MORE THING: I love this idea from New Edinburgh in central Ottawa. The street signs in that neighbourhood have a short line of text explaining who the road is named for.
Here’s a photo showing the street signs for Dufferin Street (named after the Earl of Dufferin, Canada’s Governor General from 1872-1878) and Chrichton Street, named for Anne Christine Chrichton, wife of Thomas Mackay, a stone mason and builder who was involved in the construction of the Rideau Canal. He was also one of the early property owners in New Edinburgh.