Tuesday 27 August 2013

Should Fermor Avenue be renamed?

My last post was about an idea to rename the Perimeter Highway after Winnipeg-born national hero Terry Fox. You can read more about it here and sign the petition here.

Response to renaming the Perimeter Highway has been lukewarm, both in the comments of my blog and in various web-polls. Perhaps the choice of thoroughfare needs to be tweaked. In the Free Press poll, 46% of respondents liked the idea in principle but thought a different road should be chosen.

If we were to choose a different road, what road would that be?

I nominate Fermor Avenue.

  1.  Fermor Avenue is part of the Trans-Canada Highway. The Trans-Canada Highway is (obviously) the route that Terry Fox was taking on the vast majority of his Marathon of Hope across Canada, and it was the highway he was running on when his journey ended.
  2. Of the two Trans-Canada routes past Winnipeg -- around the Perimeter or through the city via Fermor, St.Anne's, St. Mary's, Main, Broadway and Portage -- it is almost certain that Terry would have run through the city, not around it. Running through the city would have brought out more supporters, more media attention and by extension more money for cancer research. It is also a shorter route than the Perimeter
  3. Of the roads within Winnipeg that comprise the Trans-Canada Highway, Fermor is the least hassle to rename. There are NO business or residential addresses along Trans-Canada portion of Fermor, so NO businesses or homes would be affected.
 To clarify that last point, there are indeed businesses and homes with Fermor addresses, but those are west of St.Anne's Rd, so they are not part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

click to enlarge

You might be thinking 'hold on thar Baba Looey .. aren't there a whole bunch of businesses along Fermor in Southdale?' Yes there are, but they all have Vermillion addresses, not Fermor.

If Fermor was to be renamed in it's entirety, then there are 34 residential addresses that would need to change, as well as addresses for the YMCA, St.Vital Library and a minor Manitoba Hydro substation. On the other hand, if only the Trans-Canada portion of Fermor were to be renamed, then that would break up the naming continuity of the street creating yet another multi-name thoroughfare in Winnipeg.

Fermor west of St.Anne's Rd

One other concern: who was Fermor? Renaming a street in honour of somebody risks dishonouring the person for whom the street was originally named. I don't even know where to start when it comes to researching this sort of thing, but the street listings from the Manitoba Historical Society do not list anything for Fermor Avenue, so I'll assume this Fermor character was not anybody important. Possibly a small-time blogger or something.

The current proposal to rename the Perimeter Highway would involve dealing with the Province, whereas renaming Fermor is within the City's jurisdiction. Winnipeg's current mayor Sam Katz has not been shy about renaming streets in the past, and a photo-op with a member of Terry Fox's family would provide a nice distraction from auditors reports and the other tribulations of the embattled mayor.

Few plans are perfect, and renaming a significant street is always going to involve compromises or sacrifices. However, if we're going to rename a street after Terry Fox it ought to be a significant street, not some back lane. I happen to think that Fermor Avenue makes a lot of sense.


Fun fact: did you know that there was a notable Winnipeg Historian named Harry Shave? Now that's someone we should name a street after.


Christian Cassidy said...

I do like this idea better than the perimeter. I'm on the case as to who Fermor was. I'm guessing old catholic church person ?

Purple Rod said...

I looked up Fermor Avenue on the Winnipeg Historical Society website, and could not find anything. Having said that, I love your idea. I saw the polls as well, and I guess most people in Winnipeg would prefer a different street to be named after Terry Fox. I was thinking of either Ravenhurst Street, or the future east leg of the Chief Peguis Trail (between Lagimodiere and Plessis).

I will be in the city on Friday at the latest for a week, and I plan to meet with a representative of the Terry Fox Foundation, so I will update you as to how things go.

Christian Cassidy said...

As for renaming, there was a criminal known as Big Dick back in the day. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/AlaZYwmCQAAYzS5.png

When people ask me where I live, I'd love to be able to say "Big Dick Drive"

cherenkov said...

Thanks Mr.C! If anyone can find out who Fermor is it's you.

(I would like a nice corner lot at Dick and Shave).

Purple: I hope your meeting goes well.

Purple Rod said...

Thanks for the email, mrchristian. I'm really starting to warm up to the Fermor idea. Obviously, I did a petition, in regards to naming the Perimeter Highway, but to be honest, I don't have much faith in the Provincial Government approving my request.

If that fails, the Fermor idea is now my #1 alternate choice. I'll try emailing the Terry Fox Foundation either today or tomorrow, as it's the last day of my 24 day work shift in Northern Alberta. I'll keep you updated, on how things go!

Anonymous said...

FWIW Fermor Ave as it exists today is a relatively new creation. I spent many days demolishing & moving houses in the mid 1960's when the roadway was changed. Some of those houses ended up as cottage homes at Belair.

Purple Rod said...

I just realized that Fermor Ave falls under two jurisdictions, which really sucks. My alternate plan, if the petition to rename the Perimeter does not work, is to go door-to-door tomorrow, and get 100 signatures to rename Park City West C.C. to the Terry Fox Community Centre, similar to what the City Of Winnipeg did with Dakota C.C., to Jonathan Toews C.C.

I am still anticipating Fred Fox (head of the Terry Fox Foundation) reply to my message on Friday. I hope for his blessing.

Anonymous said...

Please don't involve Park City West Purple, please, please.
There's still a few people in the area that are still pissed off that the club wasn't named the Pirates Community Center when it replaced the old Pirates club on Regent and Madeline which has long since been torn down and the land sold for an apartment block.

Winnipeg Girl said...

Love the idea of renaming Fermor! I also snicker at all of the conversation regarding Big Dick Drive, thank god I'm still (very) young at heart!

mYoThErSeLf said...

Love this idea! I like right at the corner of St. Anne's and Fermor and would be so happy to say that I live right at the corner of St. Anne's & Terry Fox Ave instead.
Gonna start emailing city hall

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that Fermor was named after Patrick Leigh Fermor a British captain in the second world War who played an important role in the Crete resistance?

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