Then and Now: Strangely, many local place names honor men who never set foot in Sudbury


The men who lent their names to Capreol, Garson, Creighton, Rayside, Falconbridge and Blezard Valley never visited the communities that bear their names.

A wheelchair tour of the city of Greater Sudbury offers a history lesson. Every neighborhood and community name on the map has a story.

Have you ever wondered how Capreol got its name?

Frederick Chase Capreol, a man who never visited the community, was a promoter of the Toronto Railroad in the 1850s. Capreol Township was named in his honor. The community of Capreol bears the name of the township.

But Capreol’s father is believed to be Frank Dennie (1869-1963), a Boer War veteran and prospector. He owned the Hanmer Hotel and took advantage of other available opportunities, working as a lumberjack, mining developer, and landowner.

In 1903 Dennie was hired by American inventor Thomas Edison to oversee the cutting of a baseline for a mining exploration project near Garson. Dennie encountered quicksand and missed a nickel discovery by about 100 meters. (In 1929, Thayer Lindsley of the Falconbridge Mining Company discovered nickel a few meters away.)

Dennie purchased land in Capreol Township when he learned that CN planned to build a junction where the Toronto rail line would meet the Montreal line.

According to the book “Capreol: The First 75 Years”, Dennie agreed to give the railroad the land it needed if he promised to make Capreol a permanent divisional point with stores, a roundhouse and other buildings. railways. This agreement prevented CN from moving all railroading to North Bay in the late 1950s.

The town of Capreol was incorporated in 1918.

Dennie would become Capreol’s first postmaster and open the city’s first real estate office with Cyril T. Young.

One of the main streets in Capreol is Dennie Street. Other streets in the community are named after his children.

Prior to the permanent settlement of the pioneers, a fur trading post was located on the shore of Lake Wanapitei, about eight miles from Capreol. The area around the northeast shore of the lake is home to the Wahnapitae First Nation. Its traditional name, “Wahnapitaeping”, means “place where water has the shape of a tooth”.

Gatchell in the city’s West End, one of Sudbury’s first subdivisions, is named after Moses Gatchell, a dairy farmer.

In 1903, he and his brother purchased two parcels of land on Copper Cliff Road, now known as Lorne Street, from the City of Sudbury.

The Gatchells grew oats, corn, wheat and potatoes. Their herd of 146 dairy cows provided milk to residents of Copper Cliff and Sudbury.

Gatchell was born in Fenelon Falls. Her father was an Irish immigrant and her mother was from Nova Scotia.

He was Councilor of McKim Township from 1907 to 1909 and Reeve from 1929 to 1933. He lived a long life, passing away at the age of 89 in 1950. He is buried in Eyre Cemetery.

In 1916, he began subdividing his farm and naming streets after Sudbury soldiers who died in action during the First World War.

Many Italian immigrants settled in Gatchell. Delki Dozzi Park is named after a prominent local Italian-Canadian politician, Delchi Dozzi (1936-1980, spelling corrected).

In the 1880s and 1890s, when railways began ferrying prospectors and settlers to the vast wilderness of “New” Ontario and settlements were established, many communities were named after MLAs provincial.

Most of these politicians have probably never traveled north of Queen’s Park.

Blezard Township was named for Thomas Blezard, MPP for East Peterborough from 1873 to 1902. Once an area rich in white pine, the edge of the ‘Blezard Valley’ was the site of three discoveries in the 1880s: the Blezard mine, the Stobie mine, and the Little Stobie mine. Blezard Valley became part of the City of Valley East (1997-2000) before amalgamation with the City of Greater Sudbury.

Creighton, the township, mine and village are named after David Creighton, Conservative MP for Gray North from 1875 to 1890. Before entering politics, Creighton was editor and publisher of “The Owen Sound Times”. After politics, he founded the conservative newspaper “Empire” in Toronto.

In the northern part of Creighton Township, Colonel James R. Gordon established the Creighton Gold Mining Company in 1889; he folded in 1893. Gordon Lake is named after him.

The community of Garson is named after William Garson, MLA for Lincoln County from 1886 to 1890.

Garson left Ontario and moved to Manitoba where he established limestone quarries near Tyndall in 1898. Tyndall stone was used on the exterior of the Manitoba Parliament Building and other government buildings , including Canada House in London, England.

Garson, Man., near Winnipeg, is also named after the politician and businessman who died in 1911.

Garson’s son, Stuart, was elected Premier of Manitoba from 1943 to 1946. He turned to federal politics, and from 1948 to 1957 he served as Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

Rayside Township was named for James Rayside, a Liberal MP for Glengarry. Balfour Township was named for MLA Wililiam Balfour, a newspaper owner who represented the Amherstburg area. Balfour was a champion of the rights of women and people of color.

The town of Rayside-Balfour was incorporated in 1973 and included the communities of Azilda and Chelmsford.

Azilda was named in honor of Azilda Bélanger (née Brisbois), one of the first settlers. Chelmsford takes its name from Chelmsford, England. The English-speaking community is about 50 kilometers southwest of Sudbury, England.

Rayside-Balfour became part of the City of Greater Sudbury in 2000.

Levack was named after Mary Levack Mowatt, the mother of Sir Oliver Mowatt, Premier of Ontario from 1872 to 1896. Its neighbor, Dowling, was named after Dr. John Francis Dowling, MPP for Renfrew -South.

The name Onaping could be a contraction of the Cree word “Onumunaning”, which means “red paint” or “vermilion place”. The Onaping River empties into the Vermilion, where a Hudson’s Bay Company post once stood. The City of Onaping Falls from 1973 to 2000 included the communities of Onaping, Dowling, and Levack.

Coniston was first settled in 1902 and became the site of the Mond Company’s new foundry in 1913. While Coniston is the name of a pretty village in England’s Lake District, it is believed that the postmaster chose the name because Coniston was the name of a popular American novel. at the time. Incidentally, the novel was written by American writer Winston Churchill, who is unrelated to his more famous British counterpart.

Copper Cliff is thought to be derived from the phrase “copper cliffs”, which is how prospector Rinaldo McConnell described the mineral-rich area to Samuel J. Ritchie, the Ohio developer who founded the Canadian Copper Company. Site of numerous mining and smelting operations, Copper Cliff was first settled in 1886, became a town on April 15, 1901, and became part of the City of Sudbury in 1973.

Lake Fairbank was named for JH Fairbank, Liberal MLA for East Lambton (1883-1887) and prominent owner of oil fields in the Oil Springs/Petrolia area.

Falconbridge is named after William Glenholme Falconbridge, a Justice of the High Court of Ontario and Chief Justice of King’s Bench from 1900 to 1920. He was the son of an Irish Protestant immigrant and a member of the Upper Canada. His wife was the daughter of Toronto’s second mayor.

The judge traveled throughout Ontario to hear cases. “The Dictionary of Canadian Biography” says: “The naming of a township near Sudbury in his honor in 1892 may reflect his commitment to the administration of justice outside the provincial metropolis.

Gilbert Hanmer, of Welsh origin, was a farmer in Brant County. The first settlers in this area were French-Canadian farmers, who began settling in the area in 1898. The community grew slowly, and in 1903 a post office was established under the name Hanmer .

I am grateful to the late Sudbury historian Martin (Marty) McAllister who researched the origin of so many community names. He worked at Inco Ltd. for nearly 40 years and wrote a column for “The Inco Triangle” from 1989 to 1995.

Sudbury’s street names also provide a history lesson. Learn more about it here.

Vicki Gilhula is a freelance writer from Greater Sudbury.

Sources: October 2017, April 2018


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