Port Bruce Street Names Submitted by Bruce Johnson July 1999
As we go about our daily routines we can’t help but notice the new blue street signs in the village which give names to our roads. Some of these names such as Bank, Beach, and Lakeview are common to many towns. Other street names such as Amasa, Colin, Levi and Lindley are reminders of earlier residents who founded and molded the character of our village.
Port Bruce Street names first appear on Malahide Township Plan 5 which was the original plan for the village developed in 1851. This plan was developed by Jesse Ball, an early Ontario surveyor who was commissioned by the original proprietors of Port Bruce, Amasa Lewis of Lot 5 and his brother-in-law Lindley Moore who obtained Lot 6, Concession 1 of Malahide . These two lots were acquired from the heirs of the Hon. John Hale (1765-1838) the receiver-general of Lower Canada (now Quebec). Hale, a son of General John Hale who was with Wolfe at the defeat of the French at Quebec, had received the original crown grants for the property.
Township Plan 55 was an amended plan which was registered in 1870 and gave alterations to the original Plan 5 for the layout of Port Bruce. Plan 55 no longer showed Victoria Street which was the original route across Catfish Creek from Bruce Street to the proposed Market Square. The 1877 Atlas for Elgin County gives a map of Port Bruce and the streets named at that time portrayed the village routes without change until the beach was developed in 1919.
Some of the roads such as Market Street and Market square, The Harbour Road, Centre Street, North Street, Jefferson, McKenzie, Lewis and Devon street were planned but never cleared or built. Other streets such as Bruce, Walnut, Water, North Water, John and Rolph Streets were recently changed.
As the village grew several developments added new roads. Plan 226 in 1919 saw Lindley Moore heirs, Amy and Adelia, sell lots for cottages south of Hale street and created Lindley and Moore Streets.
In the 1940s Stan Stephens of Port Bruce developed the area west of Port Bruce and named Waneeta Beach for his wife Oneita Stephens. While the spelling is different the pronunciation is the same. Residents there are familiar with Blair St., Shalom St. and Beach Dr.
Plans registered in the 1950s and 1960s documented the formation of the Kings Highway No. 73 through Aylmer into the village through the old Bruce Street and Rolph Street to Main Street (presently Levi Street). Some old No. 73 signs can still be seen around the village.
In 1951 a new immigrant to Canada, John Mechas, developed the top of the hill, Venetian Heights, named for his wife Venetia. He registered Plan 253 which created Lakeview Road to the homes at the top of the hill adjacent to the Amasa Lewis home which is now known as the Port Bruce Manor.
A few years ago the Township initiated a plan in conjunction with the 911 service of standardizing a naming system for township street names to assist emergency vehicles in locating destinations. This brought about several changes in street names along with the elimination of long standing names such as Water, Ann, Main, Rolph, and Moore. The new names do reflect the contributions to the community by the those whose vision helped shape the community as we see it today.
The following is a list of Port Bruce street names currently in use with their probable origins:
Allen Street was previously North Street — While there is no street sign, Allen Street is shown on the new Malahide street map. It was named for Allen McKenzie, a pump manufacturer at Port Bruce in the 1880s.
Amasa Street— Previously Ann Street Renamed recently for Amasa Lewis of New York (1809 – 1897) co-founder of Port Bruce and builder and first resident of the Port Bruce Manor on the hill. Amasa’s sister Amy married first Joel Davis and second Lindley Moore who acquired Lot 6 of Malahide and was the the other co-founder of the village.
Bank Street— This street to the river bank was on the original Plan 5 for the Village of Port Bruce. On Plan 55 the old bridge into the village is shown as a part of Bank street. The street was part of the original King’s Highway plan developed in the 1930’s but Highway 73 was routed to the west at Rolph Street when actually built in the 1960s. Bank Street is now the access road to the North Erie Marina.
East Beach Drive – This is a short private lane near the pier to several cottages on the beach.
Colin Street This street was previously part of Water Street and all of Walnut Street. It is named for Elgin County Sheriff Colin Munro (1821-1883) a well known businessman, county official and frequent visitor at Port Bruce in the 1850s and 1860s. He married Amy Moore the daughter of Lindley and Amy (Lewis) (Davis) Moore of Port Bruce. Colin (not to be confused with “colon”, the punctuation mark and body part) is a common and popular old Scottish name. Unfortunately the street signs were made in error and we see “Colen” at a half a dozen crossroad signs in the village. Our township councillors are aware of the misspelling and have indicated that they plan to correct the mistake.
Dexter Line – Previously part of Water St. This is the main road along the Lake between the village of Port Stanley and Port Bruce passing through the small village of Dexter. It is the dividing line between Yarmouth Twp. Concessions 1 and 2.
Hale Street–Named after the Hale family of Quebec. Col. John Hale (1765-1838) was given a crown grant of 2000 acres consisting partly of lots 2 -7 on Concession I of Malahide in 1817. Following his death in 1838, his son Edward Hale (1800-1875) in 1851 sold lot 5 to Amasa Lewis and lot 6 to Lewis’s brother-in-law Lindley Moore.
Imperial Road was previously parts of Bruce Street, John Street, Rolph Street and Moore Street. Now there is common street name all the way from Aylmer through the village of Port Bruce to its end at Wonnacott Park. Dr. John Rolph (1793-1870) was an early English doctor, lawyer and political reformer who became Commissioner of Lands for Ontario. He had received substantial crown grants for property in Malahide. Moore Street and the old Kings Highway 73 from Aylmer to Port Bruce as well as Rolph Street and Moore Streets were changed to Imperial Road. Bruce Street as well as the village of Port Bruce were named for James Bruce, The Earl of Elgin, a Governor General of Canada in the 1840’s whom Port Bruce is also named after.
Lakeview Road — This straight and steep road to the top of the hill was named by John Mechas on Plan 253 surveyed in 1951. Homes accessed by this privately maintained road do have a superb view of the lake.
Lindley Street–Was named for Lindley Moore (1806 – 1893) one of the original founders of Port Bruce in 1851. He immigrated to Elgin county from Nova Scotia. He and his brother-in-law, Amasa Lewis were early grain merchants with warehouses on the newly built pier. His nieces Amy and Adelia inherited his property at his death and in 1919 developed the beach area naming two streets for their uncle. Lindley St. has survived but Moore St. is now part of Imperial Road.
Levi Street was previously Main Street. It is the dividing line or road allowance between Malahide Lots 5 and 6. Major north-south roads were planned in the township every 5 lots. Main street was renamed in 1997 for Levi Young (1855-1936) a long time resident of Main street who was first a school teacher in Malahide then was instrumental in establishing the fishing industry in Port Bruce in the 1880s.
Rush Creek Line – This road north of the creek and west of the village was previously composed of parts of Bruce Street, Lewis Street and North Water Street. Rush Creek, a tributary of Catfish Creek now also has a winery named for it. Lewis Street was named for Amasa Lewis, co-founder of our village.
Samuel Street – The current township map of Port Bruce shows this street at the North Erie Marina where a part of N. Water Street previously existed. It was named for Samuel Trim (born at England in 1829) who was a butcher at Port Bruce in the early 1860’s. He and his family later moved their business to Aylmer.