thestar.com
Bob Aaron

Bob Aaron bob@aaron.ca

I feel sorry for anybody who buys a new house and has to live on a street named Mike Myers Dr. The proposed street will be located in a new subdivision near Kennedy Rd. and Lawrence Ave. E. in Scarborough.

The zany idea to name a street after someone whose acting career was based on his mostly misspent youth in Scarborough raises serious questions about who approves the names of new streets.

The Star reported last week that Councillor Lorenzo Berardinetti (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre) recently persuaded Heathwood Homes to name a new street after the actor, who abandoned this country for fame and fortune in Hollywood. Berardinetti also convinced the local community council to rubber-stamp this non-starter.

Fortunately, the community council has no power to approve anything, and our elected politicians will have a chance to revisit the idea in the sobering light of day.

As his claim to fame, Myers immortalized the love of head-banging rock, doughnut shops and suburban basement antics in Wayne's World. That sketch on Saturday Night Live led to two movies by that name, three Austin Powers films, and the memorable (gag!) So I Married An Axe Murderer.

I'm not sure there are any written criteria for approving the names of new streets in Toronto area subdivisions. I much prefer naming Toronto streets after historical or heroic figures, or those who have made significant contributions to Canadian life and culture, not those who fled the country for opportunities elsewhere.

Back in 1979, the City of Toronto was looking for names of new streets in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood housing development. Following a public competition, six streets were named after figures far more important to Toronto history than a second-rate actor.

Longboat Ave., for example, was named after Thomas Longboat (1887-1949), an aboriginal champion long-distance runner. The famous Canadian artist Albert Franck (1899-1973) had his name honoured on Albert Franck Place, while Henry Lane Terrace was named after the architect who designed the Church of the Holy Trinity, parts of Osgoode Hall, and the city's second city hall now St. Lawrence Market.

Another winner in the 1979 competition was a court named after Capt. Alexandre Douville (1698-1774), an early French fur trader who established the first European trading post at the mouth of the Humber River in 1720.

Portneuf Court took its name from Pierre Robineau, the Chevalier de Portneuf (1708-1761), who built the first French fort in Toronto in 1750. And the name of Toronto historian Henry Scadding (1813-1901) was also placed on an avenue in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood.

Competitions are one way to name new streets. Another is to name them after genuine local heroes. I commend those who decided to name two Toronto streets after police officers Todd Baylis and William Hancox, both of whom died in the line of duty.

If we are still looking for streets to name after famous Torontonians, why not consider Johnny Wayne, Frank Shuster or Anne Murray?

We could also look nationally or internationally for street names. We have lots of Churchill Aves. in the GTA, a few Pearsons, and a Prince Charles, but the only Diefenbaker Court in this area is in Pickering. Why not name a new street after Pierre Trudeau, Mother Teresa, John F. Kennedy or Princess Diana?

How about a whole subdivision with names of famous composers, scientists, ballerinas, musicians, doctors, mayors, writers, premiers, prime ministers, judges, inventors or biblical figures?

Why not sell off street names permanently or temporarily to the highest bidder? A permanent name, for example, could sell for $1,000 a block, while the rental charge for temporarily renaming a mile of existing roads like Yonge St. might be $1,000 just for a weekend.

I wouldn't spend my money to name a new street Bob Aaron Dr., although someone might. But Mike Myers Dr.? No waaaaaayyyy.

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Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer. He can be reached by email at bob@aaron.ca, phone 416-364-9366 or fax 416-364-3818.
Visit the Toronto Star column archives at http://www.aaron.ca/columns for articles on this and other topics or his main webpage at www.aaron.ca.