What’s in a name

Street names often have meaning, but not always.

That issue is at the centre of a proposed name change for Southhampton Boulevard:



The Post’s article offers a brief profile of the late Bill Henshaw, and compelling reasons for renaming this street after him.

However, there isn’t much information about the street’s story.

The Burlington Historical Society published a book entitled “Burlington’s Streets – What’s Behind the Name?”. It tells us a lot about our community, including those who played key roles in its origins and our growth.

“Southhampton” was officially chosen in 1989 when the plan of subdivision was first registered. But why? Here’s the background according to the Society’s research….

A British place name was selected for this street. In England, this port city had been the main port of departure, when the White Star Line moved its base there in 1911. The Mayflower set sail from here in 1620. This street is a departure or entry “port” of Headon Forest.”

The name seems a bit disconnected to Burlington (other than it reminds us of our British roots), and merely part of a convenient theme (e.g. nearby is Northhampton, plus Aberdeen, Newport, et al.). I doubt many citizens get the intended “port” reference.

In my view, and put simply, this is a heritage moment.

I appreciate the familiarity or convenience factor raised by many neighbourhood residents, in support of not wanting the name change.

However, that’s a very narrow and tenuous argument to rely on. The street’s history only spans 25 years, so not much help there either.

A street name is a relatively small but important way for our City to do more about promoting and preserving the legacies of Burlingtonians, especially community builders from our recent past.

If “Southhampton” changes to “Henshaw” (as I believe it should), and to provide balance, perhaps the City should also consider a new name for the corresponding “Northhampton”?

While another location for this street name might be more appropriate – “Mulkewich” sounds right to me.

2 thoughts on “What’s in a name

  1. why name anything after politicians or public servants stats show they are well paid great pension and some do the job they are paid to do others dont we seldom name things after non elected officials or govt workers why is that they work as hard or harder than those with things named for them I shutter every time I see a park school or road named for a govt employee othwrs get theirs by buying them ie charitable contribution why not same for civil servants elected officials?

  2. The nice part is that no addresses back on to South Hampton other than the police station ,thus less hassle for residents in terms of changing an address
    Also please do not change the names of other streets in the hood after politicians ,City should only name new streets and not old ones What’s next Cam Jackson boulevard ????? No thanks

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