West End Lane Names

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

WestEndRoadHave I mentioned lately how much I love my neighbourhood? Since moving into Downtown Vancouver almost 12 years ago, I have never regretted picking the West End as my home.

This area is home to hundreds of restaurants, flanked by beaches and the best urban forest in the world. A block in from one of its lively, major thoroughfares (Denman, Robson, Davie) birds sing, the suburban sound of lawn mowers do their job, the roads are lined with lush green and pink blossoming trees, and there is a diverse and true sense of community.

Jeff Lee recently reported in the Vancouver Sun that this long-established neighbourhood’s unnamed lanes will soon be given titles, and the selections so far are amazing.

The streets of Vancouver’s West End are fixed with names like Haro, Denman, Broughton, Bute, Bidwell and Robson as well as many other early male explorers and pioneers. Like much of the rest of the city, it is a neighbourhood named largely after white Anglo-Saxon men, an urban geography unbalanced against the contributions made by settlers, immigrants, women and First Nations.

But now Vancouver plans to christen some of the unnamed street-wide lanes that run through the neighbourhood after prominent women, Aids activists and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

The city’s civic asset naming committee recently designated 11 unnamed lanes to be given titles in response to a new West End Community Plan adopted by council that will see many of those roadways become frontages for infill development. As development applications are made, the city will formally name those previously anonymous lanes. [Source]

This means that at least one of the Awesome Women in Vancouver History that I have written about, suffragette and alderwoman Helena Gutteridge, will be getting a lane named in her honour.

1937: Mayor George C. Miller administers the oath of office to Vancouver’s first alderwoman Miss Helena Rose Gutteridge. Photograph attributed to D’Arcy. Archives# Port P276.1

The naming committee has also already selected Rosemary Brown (1930-2003), the first black Canadian woman to be elected to any provincial legislature, to get a lane between Harwood Street and Beach Avenue/Pacific Street. ted northe, a leader in the LGBTQ community and a human-rights activist, will have a lane between Barclay and Nelson.

There are 8 other names that have been approved that include: Early Hawaiian settler Eihu and his wife Mary See-em-ia, the granddaughter of Chief Capilano; impresario and Polar Bear Swim originator Peter Basil Pantages, lifeguard Kathleen Cather, Aids activist Dr. Peter Jepson-Young, writer and poet Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake, seniors advocate Kathleen (Kay) Stovold and beauty school founder Maxine MacGilvray.

Pauline Johnson
The Pauline Johnson Memorial in Stanley Park

This is just another reason to love my neighbourhood! You can read more about this initiative in Jeff Lee’s article and browse some of the names already on the City of Vancouver’s Reserve List.

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