08:40:31 pm on
Sunday 23 Jun 2024

Naming Neighbourhoods
David Simmonds

Public consultation will begin soon on the new Wellington, Ontario, tertiary plan, which is coming out in draft form shortly. After the County’s official plan set the general rules for development Countywide. The Wellington secondary plan dealt with zoning in our area in much more detail. The tertiary plan will wrestle with some of the softer but still difficult issues in the village. Let’s just deal with one of them: size.

Wellington, Ontario, is now a tourist mecca.

Given the emergence of Wellington, Ontario, as a tourist mecca, sanctuary for residents fleeing or cashing in on Toronto housing prices and global financial hub, Wellington is getting big. Before it becomes unrecognizable, the proponents of the tertiary plan say, let’s do what most sophisticated cities do and divide Metropolitan Wellington into boroughs, parishes, wards, districts, quartiers, arrondissements and what have you.

The challenge lies in the details. A simple solution, borrowed from Paris, France, would be to have “rive gauche” and a “rive droite” to divide the village in two. Lane Creek doesn’t flow in a straight path. We could divide it along a north-south axis, so that our quarters would be “East of Wharf” and “West of Wharf.” We could have an east-west axis, so that our quarters would be “North of Main” and “South of Main.” Neither choice represents how we function: it’s an arbitrary dividing line.

The west end has dentists, an LCBO and a farm market.

It’s a nuanced task, much more than thought, at first. So let’s start from the west and move east, and see what comes to mind. At the west end, you’ve your dentists and doctors, your LCBO, farm market, bakery and a couple of restaurants. By volume of traffic, we might call this the Alcohol District, but that would fail to take into account the potential for the sale of recreational marijuana. I suggest calling it simply Uptown. The word has an aura of sophistication about it and you’ve  thirty condominiums going up there soon, so maybe the designation will help with sales.

Then you come to Cleminson Street, which houses building suppliers, storage units and car repairers. Our veterans surely deserve recognition on their own turf, so let’s call it the Legion Ward and move on. Next, we come to Consecon Street, which houses craft and art studios, signs for wineries, and the cemetery. I have left out the most important feature. Not that the empty bottle return depot peopled by our stalwart Rotarians, but the place at the end of the street from which your vehicle usually returns lighter than when it left. I would call it the Quartier Decharge; it has a more romantic sound than its English translation; sorry Consecon Street.

Moving east, you’ve your hardware, drug and grocery stores, mini boutiques and banking, real estate, insurance, postal and spiritual services, as well as bars and restaurants, it might be called Downtown, Olde Wellington, the Commercial District or even the Entertainment District; buying nails, cough syrup and cabbage is a form of entertainment. Notwithstanding my earlier rejection of it as a major division line, I think it would be helpful it we stole a page from San Antonio and Chicago and called the whole area the Creekwalk District. Mind you, I would not be averse to a special name for the historic stretch of Wharf Street north of Main, such as Slaughterhouse Alley.

To round out the picture, you could have The Mall, which names itself, because there is only one. Then you could have Harbour Parish, which could I suppose be called the Roll Up the Rim District if a certain company would pay for the privilege of being the signature name. At the far, east end of town, you have West Lake and, further to the north, you have Rink Ward and Sniderborough.

Plans call to install a parkette or two.

There are some who might claim that the tertiary plan exercise in naming neighbourhoods, at best, is a waste of time, and at worst a diversionary tactic adopted by those who would tear down the former corner store at Wharf and Main and turn it into a parkette. That view is as nonsensical as a Donald Trump tweet. What better come-on than a parkette right where the Creekwalk District meets Slaughterhouse Alley.


Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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