Where the Streets Have Their Names?

Where the Streets Have Their Names?

(On the Personalities behind Popular Streets in Winnipeg)

If you’ve been living in Winnipeg for a number of years now and have been driving around Downtown area especially, then you must be already familiar with thoroughfares like William Ave., Bannatyne Ave., Donald St., and many more. Have you ever wondered where their names were derived from?

As what the author Anu Garg wrote in his 2007 book The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: “Words are stories in themselves—each word has a story.” What more with street names? Certainly, there are lots of stories behind the names of every winding road you have traveled and busy streets you have traversed. Here are just some of them, located in the heart of Winnipeg.

William Avenue: This is one of the most popular avenues in Winnipeg certainly because one side of the equally popular hospital Health Sciences Centre resides along it. It is actually derived from a first name, that of William Ross (1825–1856), who was appointed Sheriff of Assiniboia in 1851. In 1855, he became the first postmaster for the Red River Settlement.

Bannatyne Avenue: Its name came from Andrew Bannatyne (1829–1889), a politician and fur trader who was born in Scotland and who at 14 years old joined the Hudson’s Bay Company as an apprentice clerk and then set sail for Canada.

His accomplishments included being an appointed magistrate in 1861 and in 1871 as Winnipeg’s first postmaster.

Afterwards, he held various positions in the government and became a wealthy business person.

Donald Street: This was derived from the name of Donald A. Smith (Lord Strathcona) (1820–1914), another politician who started as an employee of Hudson’s Bay Company and eventually becoming an MLA from 1870–1874 and also a member of the House of Commons until 1880. The streets of Smith and Strathcona were also named after him.

The Last Leaf

To know the history and stories behind the names of even streets is really interesting. It adds wonder and gives the curious a sense of awe every time he navigates along these thoroughfares. Just ensure that you don’t daydream about such historical stories too much while you’re actually busy driving, especially this winter time.