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Sep. 21, 2020 | Monday
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Glendale renaming should commemorate history: Friends of Laura Secord
Glendale’s planned Main Street, between Glendale Avenue and the outlet mall. (Niagara Region illustration)

Niagara-on-the-Lake council was urged to commemorate its rich local history and culture in the new Glendale District development during a committee of the whole general meeting Monday.

More streets, places and infrastructure should reflect the town’s heritage and local landscapes, the Friends of Laura Secord president Caroline McCormick and vice-president David Brown told councillors Monday.

“We realized there are many other stories to be told and places to be recognized as part of our broader mandate,” McCormick said. 

The presenters asked the town to recognize and commit to renaming the new Glendale District to reflect the rich local history and heritage.

The current working title of the proposed development zone, Glendale District, is an extension of a St. Catharines street nomenclature and has no “real affiliation” with the actual place, Brown explained.

The area was traditionally used for hunting and travel by Indigenous people. These paths were adopted by settlers as earliest formal roads and have since become “major arterials,” such as Queenston Road or York Road, that are used on a daily basis, Brown said.

Some other historic characteristics that define the region also include the old Garden City Racetrack, located where the Outlet Mall is currently situated, the Lampman family estate (a home to a Canadian poet Archibald Lampman), the Niagara Regional Native Centre located not far from the original Iroquois Trail, and Ten Mile Creek, which served as a barrier, a boundary, a conduit and a resource.

Laura Secord, a prominent local heroine, also crossed the creek near the village of Homer during her 1813 trek.

The town could draw on the area’s rich history to make sure the names of streets, subdistricts, parks, monuments and infrastructure are locally relevant and celebrate significant people, history and landscapes of the area, Brown said.

Another suggestion was to rename the proposed Main Street between the Outlet Collection mall and Niagara on the Green to commemorate pioneering women, including Black women, Indigenous women and female settlers, and placing a monument at the entrance roundabout. Some of the suggested women included Laura Secord, Harriet Tubman, Eliza Fenwick, Chloe Cooley, Margherita Howe and others.

Some of the project’s costs could be covered through corporate donations and fundraising, Brown added.

The last proposal was to engage the community and industry leaders in identifying and selecting people, places and events that will be commemorated in streetscapes, parks, neighbourhoods in the new Glendale District development.

“Recognizing these places, people and heritage would be a remarkable statement of both our local identity and our national and international significance,” Brown said.

Niagara-on-the-Lake council unanimously approved four motions in principle and asked staff to come back with a report.