What's In A Name

by Frank Tibbo

Quite often someone will say, "I don’t know whom that street is called after," or, “I didn't know we had a street called Laurel, or Gilmour or Wiley Post.”

Gander has a policy with regard to naming streets for prominent aviators, and the Town Council has, for the most part, been consistent in the policy. The exceptions are Airport Boulevard, Carling Crescent, Elizabeth Drive, Edinburgh Avenue, Memorial Drive and Viscount Crescent. Some would add "Bell" to the doubtful list. Bell did some very important work with Canada's first flight and is considered to fall in the aviator category by many. The street was named "Bell" at the request of the Terra Nova Telephone Company, and the request had nothing to do with Bell's aviation experience.

Airport Boulevard, the street leading to the airport, Elizabeth Drive named to honour the monarch, Edinburgh Avenue named for the Queen's consort and Memorial Drive named in honour of WWII veterans need no explanation. There are two, however, that defy explanation – Carling Crescent and Viscount Crescent.

Carling Crescent was named for either a brewery, an aircraft or a businessman – take your pick. The brewery was owned by Carling, the aircraft was named the "The Sir John Carling,” and the businessman, who was not an aviator, was Sir John Carling. In 1927, the Carling Brewery Company of London, Ontario, decided to offer a $25,000 award for the first Canadian to fly from London, Ontario, to London, England. The aircraft arrived in Harbour Grace on September 5. It departed for London the following morning and was never seen or heard of again!

Viscount Crescent was named after an aircraft, and there is very little evidence why. The Viscount was an aircraft used by Air Canada, but the Viscount was only one of many aircraft that frequented Gander.

How many streets are named for current and former residents? Ask someone who has not read the column and see how many of the 18 they can name. Here is the answer: Edgar Baird, Eric Blackwood, Royal Cooper, Austin Garrett, Joe Gilmour, William Heath, Ted Henley, Marsh Jones, Gunnar Laurell, Jim Lewington, Tom McGrath, Harold Pattison, Edward Penwell, Jack Robertson, Jim Roe, Cy Rowsell, Fred Russell, Rex Tilley and Austin Vatcher. (James (Jack) Boulevard is on airport property and named by Transport Canada.)

In addition to the foregoing, there are at least 11 who visited Gander including Carl Bachman, Donald Bennett, Bill Carr, Max Conrad, the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth, Doug Fraser, Yuri Gagarin, Bill Irvine, Louise Sacchi and Arthur Wilcockson.

At the top of the chapter, I mentioned Laurell Road, Gilmour Place and Wiley Post Crescent. These are probably the least known of Gander streets mainly because of location. The street named to honour Gunnar Laurel is located off Airport Boulevard and is the road near McDonald's and leads to the Gander Mall. The exit from Cooper Blvd. to the Gander Mall has also been named Laurell. Gilmour Place and Wiley Post Crescent are adjacent to Armstrong Boulevard.


Contributed by F. Tibbo

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