What are the origins of Avenue Road’s name?
What are the origins of Avenue Road’s name? It’s like a street called Boulevard Road, or Road Street, or, well, you get the point.—Oliver Warmflash, DOWNTOWN
There’s an old joke that claims the road was named by a cockney-accented surveyor who planted his stake in the ground and declared, “Let’s ’av a new road.” Alas, Avenue’s true origins are rather more prosaic. The boulevard we currently call University Avenue actually started life as two parallel roads separated by a median. The eastern half was called Park Lane, after the tony London route of the same name that runs alongside Hyde Park. The western half was called College Avenue, since the road led to the site of King’s College (now replaced by Queen’s Park). Closed to traffic by forbidding gates and modelled after European parks, College Avenue was one of the young city’s classiest promenades. Indeed, before long it was simply known as “the Avenue.” All this changed in 1859, when the College Street we know today was extended west to meet College Avenue. To sort out the confusing intersection of “College and College,” College Avenue and Park Lane were combined to make University Avenue. And even though the Avenue never regained its former elegance, its nickname lived on.