Guest post from the Office of Councillor Joe Mihevc
There are more than 99 lanes that wind their way through Ward 21. These laneways are used every day by residents, providing a short cut to run an errand, walk the dog or just get to school on time.
Despite their impact on the geographical landscape of our neighbourhood, many of these laneways are unnamed, which can create a challenge for first responders and non-emergency City services when trying to pinpoint locations. That’s what prompted me to start the Laneway Naming Project in Ward 21. The project was about providing a way to identify the many laneways that crisscross through our neighbourhood, while commemorating the array of personalities that make up the heartbeat of Ward 21.
As we are currently completing our second round of laneway naming, I am excited to be recommending 4 potential laneway names: Fernandez Lane, Alan Slobodsky Lane, Dov Altman Lane and Art Lives Here Lane.
The Naming Process
Each laneway name is nominated by a resident, and selected by a local committee of community members—but each round is unique. Residents always bring their diverse knowledge and experience to the adjudication table, making each round special. For instance, this round we had so many lanes named after people, we decided to also add a moniker under each of the names, such as “visionary”, “city-builder” or “poet” to help those who don’t know the history to connect with what the person was about.
After the selection process, nominations move forward to be reviewed by Toronto East York Community Council, and then receive approval from the City’s Emergency Services Division and the Toronto Engineering and Construction Services Department. This process usually takes about 3 months before the newly named laneways can be unveiled in a resident-led celebration for the community.
On Commemorating History
This project provides a unique opportunity to pay homage to local personalities, transforming nameless laneways into memory lanes, filled with history and stories that are valued and cherished by local residents. The goal is not to name all the laneways; rather it's to create an opportunity for community members to contribute a piece of local history, remembering the past, while also leaving something for future generations to enjoy.
Feel Good Lane
Last spring, ten new laneway names were unveiled in the community. One of these ten was Feel Good Lane. Named after the late Barry Luksenberg, a 24-year-old resident and rapper who died in a motorcycle accident. This laneway nomination gathered 458 online supporters, and another 427 local signatures of support to commemorate his life and local hip-hop group 512—named after the St. Clair Streetcar.
Although not all residents may have known him, his love and connection to this community will be forever etched in our streets—and for me, that's what laneway naming is all about.
To learn more about the Ward 21 Laneway Naming Project, visit the website here.