A Rose By Any Other Name (Updated)

Profound thanks to the many readers who commented on this item!  Based on all this feedback, not to mention my own preferences, the list of new station names is almost complete.  Here’s what it looks like now:

Bloor-Danforth East:

Scarborough Junction, Massey Creek, Dentonia Park, East Toronto, North Beach, East York, Linsmore, [Donlands], Ελλας, Riverdale, Playter, [Castle Frank, Sherbourne]

Bloor-Danforth West: 

Roy’s Square, Yorkville, Rochdale, Lowther, The Annex, Willowvale, [Ossington], Brockton, [Lansdowne], West Toronto, Parkside, [High Park], Swansea, Baby Point, [Old Mill], Kingsway, Montgomery, Six Points

Yonge:

Finch’s, Willowdale, Lansing, Hogg’s Hollow, Muir Gardens, Rebellion, Belt Line, Avoca, North Toronto, Crescent, Roy’s Square, Rainbow, Carlton, O’Keefe’s Lane, City Hall, Melinda, Royal York

University/Spadina: 

[St. Andrew], Osgoode Hall, [St. Patrick], Taddle Creek, Planetarium, Rochdale, Lowther, Casa Loma, Wells Hill, York, Viewmount, [Lawrence West], Arc en Ciel, Downsview, Wilson Heights.

I am amused that we have two “rainbows” one in each official language.  Moreover, the one formerly known as Wellesley has the most boring decor on the system.  Just imagine what a few inspired decorators could do! 

The original post and comments follow below.

In a recent comment, a reader wryly told of a sign directing him to “Streetcars to Gunn’s Loop”.  Quick!  Who knows where “Gunn’s Loop” is?

I believe that we should build on the tradition of the alternate subway map with better names for stations, names that are romantic, that speak of history, that will confuse someone who doesn’t know the name of the farmer whose land was once nearby.  What it will do for navigating the system, I don’t know, but we need every marketing gimmick we can think of to win more riders!

Stations That Should Have Been Named This But Were Not Because Someone Got Cold Feet

  • Yorkville
  • Willowvale
  • Hogg’s Hollow
  • Crescent

Stations That Deserve a More Romantic Name

  • Avoca
  • Nordheimer
  • Casa Loma
  • Muir Gardens
  • Belt Line
  • Roy’s Square
  • Riverdale
  • Lowther

Stations That Should Echo Local History

  • North Toronto (a former railway station, now a booze palace a few kilometers south of the village of the same name)
  • East Toronto (a former town with a really short main street)
  • West Toronto (another former town that the station isn’t actually in, strictly speaking)
  • Lansing  (the name of the Metropolitan Division stop where Dempsey’s Hardware once stood)
  • Willowdale (the stop, and the town, destroyed by Mel)
  • Finch’s (the original name)
  • Swansea
  • Six Points
  • Todmorden Mills (which is really up the street, but that’s artistic license for you)
  • Baby Point (that “ah” for that “a”, and yes, it’s a stretch but no more so than Todmorden)
  • Taddle Creek
  • O’Keefe’s Lane (or Dundas Square or Kyle’s Folly)
  • Rochdale
  • Planetarium (to be implemented only after the station is redecorated in Museum motifs)
  • Arc en Ciel (in memory of the original neon installation)

Just To Give Equal Time

  • Carlton (this is also in the interest of making the streetcar easier to find, although since it is called 506, we may still have a problem)

To Keep the Real Estate Folks Happy

  • North Beach 

Stations With Really Good Names Already

  • Castle Frank
  • Old Mill
  • Osgoode (but we need to add “Hall”) (don’t even think of calling it “Opera”)
  • Saints Andrew and Patrick
  • Bessarion (but we could probably get big bucks for renaming it “Ikea”)

All Those Yorks

  • Royal York (the one downtown)
  • Kingsway (formerly Royal York)
  • York (in memory of the York subway)
  • East York (not quite in the former Borough, but close)
  • North York (or Mel’s Folly, or more properly Willowdale)
  • Yorkdale (there is no “dale” nearby, but that’s in the tradition we seek to uphold)

And so … this gives us a Yonge line with:

Finch’s, Willowdale, Lansing, Hogg’s Hollow, Muir Gardens, [Eglinton], Belt Line, Avoca, North Toronto, Crescent, Roy’s Square, [Wellesley], Carlton, O’Keefe’s Lane, [Queen, King], Royal York, [St. Andrew], Osgoode Hall, [St. Patrick], Taddle Creek, Planetarium, Rochdale, Lowther, Casa Loma, Nordheimer, York, [Glencairn, Lawrence West], Arc en Ciel, [Wilson, Downsview]

And a Bloor line with:

[Kennedy, Warden], East York, East Toronto, North Beach, [Coxwell, Greenwood, Donlands, Pape, Chester], Riverdale, [Castle Frank, Sherbourne], Roy’s Square, Yorkville, Rochdale, [Spadina, Bathurst], Willowvale, [Ossington, Dufferin, Lansdowne], West Toronto, [Keele, High Park, Runnymede], Baby Point, [Old Mill], Kingsway, [Islington], Six Points

Nominations will be accepted here for the ones that still have their original names in these lists, and maybe someday we will see a new map!

Of course, if we actually renamed the stations, it would take the TTC the better part of a decade to update all of their signage, and we would have the delightful situation of maps that nobody could use, or two maps with different names side by side.

In that spirit, I am going to start a new running observation — temporary directional signs that are hopelessly out of date, but still posted for the edification of customers.

20 thoughts on “A Rose By Any Other Name (Updated)

  1. Queen should, of course, be called Simpsons. A historically-correct moniker of Lot Street would also be quite acceptable.

    Coxwell should be East York, since it’s the stop that’s closest to the East York Civic Centre. That would liberate Victoria Park to become Dentonia Park, after the nearby Massey farm.

    I recommend Roxy for Greenwood, after the well-known neighbourhood theatre there. This station could have been called Rocky Horror until a few years ago.

    Chester should be Playter.

    I also think that in the tradition of naming transit features after one-block minor streets, King absolutely must be rebadged as Melinda.

    Steve:  Hmmm … in that case, we could rename Queen as Shuter, or even better Albert after the original name of the north exit.  Since this part of Albert Street disappeared under the Eaton Centre, it would fit in well with the overall scheme.

    Thank you for Playter.  I should have picked up that myself since I live in the neighbourhood.

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  2. I like your alternate-universe station names. I nominate these additions:

    Crescent Town instead of East York [Victoria Park]
    East York instead of Coxwell
    Riverdale instead of Donlands
    Hellena instead of Riverdale [Pape]
    Bloorcourt for Ossington
    Croatia for Dufferin (which means, to be fair, we’ll need Serbia for High Park)
    Wade for Lansdowne
    Parkside for Keele
    Swansea for Runnymede
    Berwick for Eglinton
    Rainbow for Wellesley
    City Halls for Queen
    Banks for King

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  3. Did you forget Spadina on your revised Yonge line?

    Steve:  Oh dear, oh dear.  It will have to be Lowther Station, after the location of the north exit!

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  4. To be fair to the TTC, Gunn’s Loop is actually on the route map for the St. Clair car. It may not be helpful for someone who’s never ridden that route before, but I’d hope that anyone who uses it regularly would at least know the location of the end of the line.

    Steve:  But the destination signs on the streetcars say “Keele”, and Gunn’s Loop is not named on the system route map which is the most likely thing anyone might refer to.

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  5. Pape and Chester stations on the Bloor-Danforth line seem to be missing from your list.

    Steve:  I had been working on and off on that post for some time, and with competing events keeping me away from this site, I wanted to push it out the door to start getting responses.  Oddly enough, the stations I missed were largely in my own neighbourhood.

    We shall see what the mail brings, and eventually I will publish a new consolidated list.

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  6. It would be fitting (though not very obscure) to call Queen “City Hall”. King could be called “Courthouse” for nearby Courthouse Square or even “Toronto” for nearby Toronto St.

    The 1837 rebels headed downtown from Eglinton, so how about “Rebellion”? (Or you could follow the lead of the Paris station “La Courneuve 8 Mai 1945” and just call it “December 4, 1837”.)

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  7. Not only was Lowther [Spadina] missed on YUS, but several were missed on BD: Between Donlands and Castle Frank, your list only shows “Riverdale”.

    Does this correspond to Pape, Chester, or Broadview. I would go with Hellena for Pape (as Dave suggested), and Riverdale for Broadview.

    Where did Val Dodge come up with Playter for Chester? I could think of a few alternatives for Chester, but they would have little significance to most others.

    My mother’s grandmother lived at 22 Chester, which was one property that was purchased and demolished for the subway. A prank was pulled on an uncle of mine when the house was empty just before demolition that involved someone dressing up as Norman Bates’ mother (Psycho was just out at that time). Needless to say, names like “Psycho”, “Bates”, or “Motel” come to mind!

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  8. Any discussion of this sort has to have Montgomery as Islington Stn., and then you could make Keele or Lansdowne west Toronto with Dundas West becoming Vincent, historical references kept alive.

    And Spadina (legit Spadina) being Walmer, no?

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  9. Warden could be changed to Warden Woods or perhaps Massey Creek as that runs through the Warden Woods located across the street from the station. Kennedy could be renamed Scarborough Junction as it is borders the old neighbourhood just south of it and 2 sets of train tracks run next to the station itself.

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  10. You’ve followed Joe Mihevc in proposing Casa loma as a new name for Dupont. However, that would probably mislead even more tourists who want to visit Casa Loma into getting off at Dupont Street to find that they then have to climb up a cliff to get there. Casa Loma’s better as a name for St. Clair West. For Dupont, why not Annex?

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  11. What about Victoria for Museum?

    While you’re at it, you could try to get the TTC to make the line maps above the doors relate in real space to the direction of the train, unless you intend to continue confusing visitors to the city….

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  12. Henry Farm for Don Mills (so when the Downtown Relief Line is extended up Don Mills Road, there would be a stop in Don Mills called Don Mills),

    I’ll add my own suggestion for Queen – in the tradition of St. Andrew and St. Patrick (nearby churches), how about St. Michael (for the many insititutions named that in the area), or what about Massey Hall?

    And how about naming Wilson Downsview (much closer to the original village of Downsview), and naming Downsview Wilson Heights (also the adjacent neighbourhood)? That solves that issue of no alternate names for that part.

    Viewmount for Glencairn.

    Montgomery for Islington.

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  13. Why does Union Station not count as a landmark in your eyes?

    Steve:  The whole purpose of this whimsical exercise is to rename stations so that people cannot easily tell where they are unless they already know the city well.  Hence the idea of using the name “Royal York” (after the hotel) to name a station that obviously should be called Union.

    I suppose that this means I can’t keep existing station names anywhere unless they are already rather obscure.  In that light, we might move the name “St. Patrick” one stop south because the St. Patrick’s Market is down the street on Queen West.

    As a matter of history, the various “saint” stations are related mostly to old ward names in the early days of Toronto/York where the wards were named after saints.  (Oddly, this in an Anglican city.)  Some of these names still exist in neighbourhoods like St. Lawrence and the riding St. Paul’s.  St. David’s (Cabbagetown) disappeared as a riding name some time ago.

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  14. If we’re going for the obscure and sticking to where the station is located then Greenwood must be renamed “Linnsmore”, or “Linsmore” if you’re going to name it for the tavern on the corner since everyone walking south from the station has to pass that institution!

    Donlands should be split back into two words “Don Lands”, which seem to be a moving target in the east end. One keeps hearing about the “West Don Lands” and “East Don Lands” down by King & Queen Sts. How did the Don Lands name end up way up there?

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  15. Robert Lubinski said:

    “One keeps hearing about the “West Don Lands” and “East Don Lands” down by King & Queen Sts. How did the Don Lands name end up way up there?”

    Way up at Danforth?!? Heck, the CPR used the station name “Donlands” for the point on the Belleville subdivision where CN’s Leaside line connected their Bala subdivision to it behind the Inn on the Park at Leslie and Eglinton!

    I’m not sure if the CPR still uses this name, given that the Leaside line is now gone (and so is the hotel!).

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  16. If you want to be obscure, then Casa Loma should be out altogether. Dupont could be Davenport Hill or even Algonquin Shore, while St. Clair West could be Wells Hill.

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  17. And Dufferin Station could be named Brockton after the former Village of Brockton (which was named after Sir Isaac.)

    The Village of Brockton (Dufferin to the east, bloor to the north, rail line to the west and Queen St. to the south) was incorporporated in 1881; it went bankrupt three years later and amalgamated with the City of Toronto.

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  18. Leslie should be Ikea. Canadian Tire would be confusing since there’s a CTC stores near Main (aka East Toronto) and Lawrence West and CTC head office at Yonge and Eglinton (Rebellion). And we can’t forget the 2 downtown stores Bay-Dundas and Yonge-Davenport-Church. Lawrence West could be Zellers or Canadian Tire West! Or may be just “Part Way to No Where” with the new station in Vaughan being “No Where”.

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