HOW-TO: NAME YOUR LANEWAY
Top 5 Reasons to Name Your Laneway:
1 • Safety and Security - A laneway with a name helps police, fire and paramedic services find it in the event of an emergency;
2 • Commemorating History - Naming a laneway after a noteworthy person, place, event, etc. is encouraged under Toronto’s street naming policy, and it helps preserve history;
3 • Placemaking - Naming a laneway gives the lane an identity, and creates a sense of place, which also serves to invite more pedestrian traffic, making it safer;
4 • Community Building - The collaborative process of naming a laneway helps build community connections, good will, and a feeling of neighbourhood pride;
5 • Invites Further Laneway Improvements - A laneway with a name opens the door to further laneway improvements, such as beautification and community events like laneway movie screenings, potlucks, and local farmers’ markets.
Official Laneway Naming Process
There are four components of a successful laneway naming process:
- A completed laneway naming application. File an application with the City of Toronto Engineering and Construction Services Division. (See the step-by-step guide on page five of our Naming Guide for more details on the application.)
- An acceptable laneway name. The City reviews the name being proposed to ensure it is in accordance with Policy. Most importantly proposed names must be unique in the city, commemorate something noteworthy, have consent of the person or group whose name is being proposed, and have community support. For more details see page seven of our Naming Guide.
- Community support. The most important aspect of public support is that the proposed name has the approval of the residents and business owners whose properties abut the laneway in question, though wider public support can bolster an application.
- Contacting your local City Councillor. Contact information for all City Councillors is available here: Toronto City Councillors
Laneway naming success stories
When embarking on an endeavor such as naming a laneway, it’s always nice to hear some success stories to get you going (and provide you with ideas). Here are some links to some such stories:
The HVRA Laneway Naming Project
Harbord Village Sets the Lane Naming Standard
Seaton Village’s Lane Naming Project
‘Crestfallen Lane’ May Soon Commemorate Piece of Seaton Village History
The Hidden History in Toronto’s Back Lanes
Laneway Names Celebrate Cabbagetown’s Heritage
City to Name Sky Gilbert Lane
Toronto Gets Some of its First Aboriginally Named Streets
New Laneway Names Rooted in Toronto’s History