The following is taken and modified from an article entitled “A Sign of the Times — The Story of Our Street Names”, in the August 2018 edition of City Councillor Riley Brockington’s Community Bulletin, for River Ward.
A Sign of the Times — The Story of Our Street Names
What’s in a name? Have you ever wondered where your street name came from?
I did, so I asked the City of Ottawa’s Archivist and his team what the origins were for the following River Ward Streets: Fisher Avenue, Merivale Road, Shillington Avenue and Laperriere Avenue. I am pleased to share with you the following information they were able to retrieve.
These four streets were named when they were in the Township of Nepean. The archivist cautions that it is very rare to find reasoning behind name choices in the former township’s Council Minutes or By-laws. Therefore, the connections can only be assumed. Quite often, I am advised, the roads were named by the property owners as they were the ones who built the original roads and townships did not have “infrastructure” as we know it today.
Harold Fisher (1877-1928) was a lawyer before entering municipal politics. He served as a City of Ottawa Alderman 1913-14, Controller 1915-16, Mayor 1917-1920 and Liberal MPP 1923-1926. He is responsible for the establishment of the Ottawa Civic Hospital on Carling Avenue. The Might’s City Directories* first list Fisher as a street in their 1917-18 edition. The supposition is that the street, Fisher Park neighbourhood and school were named after him.
Merivale Road shows up on very early maps. The word “merivale” comes from Cornwall, England, and means “pleasant valley.” The first reference to the road that was found is on the Kennedy Map of Nepean, dated 1843. The Merivale Post Office is found on a later map of Nepean Township, the Beldon Atlas, Carleton County, 1879.
Members of the Shillington family were early pioneers in Nepean. Thomas Shillington served as a Nepean Township Councillor between 1884-1886, as the fourth Deputy Reeve from 1887-1888, and again as Councillor in 1889-1892. The Might’s City Directories* first list Shillington as a street in their 1931 edition. The supposition is that the street was named for Thomas Shillington.
Owned by two brothers, Laperriere & Laperriere was a brokerage/real estate firm that sold lots primarily to French-Canadians in the Bellevue Park area which was located across from City Heights and the Expermental Farm. The Might’s City Directories* first list Laperriere as a street in their 1940 edition. The supposition is that the street was named for the Laperriere brothers.
Bibliography Source: Might’s Company City Directories, City of Ottawa Archives, with information provided by Harriette Fried, Archival Research Assistant.
* Until the early 2000s, the Might’s Company produced City Directories for many places in Canada, including Ottawa. They were similar to a phone book. What makes them valuable for research is that there was a business directory section, an alphabetical listing section and a section organized by streets. The City of Ottawa Archives retains volumes that date from 1861 to 2011.
Want to learn more?
The City of Ottawa Archives, along with the Ottawa Museums, provide an online source of information and an online catalogue for research for historians called Ottawa Museums & Archives Collections (ottawa.minisisinc.com)
The City of Ottawa Archives is located at the James Bartleman Materials Centre, 100 Tallwood Drive, at the corner of Tallwood Drive and Woodroffe Avenue. Phone: 613.580.2857. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.