One of the consequences of amalgamation was the duplication of names of roads and laneways within the newly formed city. It became significant for the City of Toronto to check for duplication within the boundaries of new city and, consequently, the City devised a street and lane-naming policy in 2000. The City of Toronto Street-Naming Policy was adopted by the Council of the City of Toronto at its meeting held on August 1, 2, 3 and 4, 2000.
To view the policy: http://www.toronto.ca/mapping/street_naming/index.htm
This has afforded the opportunity for communities to consider various rationales for selecting names for the lanes within their areas, such as historical, geographical and cultural significance, or noteworthy persons (deceased), so that ultimately the process affords a much better considered and personal approach.
Areas that have already named their lanes, or are in the process of doing so, include Cabbagetown and Harbord Village.
It has been suggested that, with communities reclaiming their lanes and having a sense of “ownership” over them, a reciprocal effort should come from the City to ensure these lanes are better maintained. Regular ploughing of snow, removal of garbage and graffiti (not murals) and updating/upgrading utilities such as lighting along the laneways has been reported.
Seaton Village itself has a wonderfully rich history dating back to the first surveys of the British Regime in the late 1700s. It has witnessed fantastic ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, including generations of Russian, Jamaican, Greek, Italian, Portuguese and Korean residents, religious institutions, factories and businesses. It has contained some very unusual structures, and continues to do so.
Ed Janiszewski, a local resident, historian and member of the Community History Project, has decided to launch a Seaton Village lane naming project. Ed perceives this to be a very positive endeavour, which will allow an opportunity for Seaton Village residents to memorialize their neighbourhood, take pride in their public spaces, and ultimately improve services and the quality of life for all here in Seaton Village.
This is a BIG job; Ed considers it will take a year, including research and doing a laneway inventory to check the state of each lane, to complete the project. As well, costs associated with the scope and scale of the project will need to be submitted to the City for approval along with a clearly and thoughtfully written proposal and application.
How much consensus required is vague; however, with all such open community projects, the lane naming initiative demands accountability, accessibility and transparency. Neighbourhood interest and commitment to the project as well as clearly delineated community benefits must be demonstrated and articulated in letters and applications to the City and before Council will consider the project. City surveyors will connect with local business and heritage groups prior to the request going to the Toronto and East York Community Council for a vote of approval.
At the February SVRA meeting, Jenny Foster, Chair of the Traffic Committee, wondered whether there was any experience with an increase in “cut through” traffic using these now “signed” lanes to avoid traffic along major arteries, or to evade traffic mazes such as exist in our neighbourhood.
Douglas McTaggart told Ed Janiszewski that Cabbagetown has not experienced any increase in cut through traffic, but instead, there is an increase in neighbourhood laneway activity and in squad car, foot and bike patrol police traffic, creating a “neighbourhood watch” effect as the unintended by-product.
We need you!
Would you be interested in being involved in the lane naming project?
Ed Janiszewski and the SVRA welcome anyone wanting to participate in this endeavour! If you have the will and the way to help us out, if you are interested in learning more about Seaton Village’s history and the people who have shaped it, please send us a message at email@example.com You can participate by suggesting names for your nearby lane, helping to document the information, researching those who lived here before us, using the Toronto Archives and newspaper holdings, or interviewing current or former residents about their experiences in Seaton Village—we just need your name and any supporting information, including the best way to get in touch with you!
A big thank you to Ed Janiszewski for his initiative and dedication to this project. The SVRA is looking forward to working with Ed and all Seaton Village residents on a really remarkable endeavour!
Here is a map of Seaton Village and its 52 laneways: