Monday, March 17, 2008

Sporting Street Names

In the most recent Vancouver Courier (March 14, 2008), writer Bob Mackin uses the possible renaming of the Strait of Georgia (to Salish Sea) to make - with an eye to the impending Olympics - "10 proposals to bring sports to the streets". These are the ones I like best..
  • Old name: Denman Street. New name: Millionaires Mile. Denman Street's north foot marks the western edge of Coal Harbour's high-rent district. It once led to the Patricks' Denman Arena where the Vancouver Millionaires were crowned Stanley Cup champions on March 26, 1915.
  • Old: Ontario Street. New: Bob Brown Boulevard. Why does Ontario Street in Vancouver go through such a pleasant neighbourhood when British Columbia Road in Toronto is on the Canadian National Exhibition site where nobody lives? Nat Bailey Stadium wouldn't be here without Bob Brown, the Scranton, Penn., native who became the father of baseball in Vancouver.
  • Old: James Street. New: Jims Street. Conveniently located near Nat Bailey Stadium, James Street should go colloquial to honour sports radio legends Robson and Cox and spectacular sports scribes Coleman, Kearney and Taylor. All Jims. All great.
  • Old: West 41st Avenue. New: Rick Hansen Way. He was just a wheelchair athlete when he left Oakridge Mall on Feb. 21, 1985. But he was a national hero when he returned there on May 22, 1987 after rolling 40,075 kilometres around the world to champion access for the disabled and raise money for spinal cord research.
  • Old: McGill and Bridgeway streets. New: Miracle Mile. Empire Stadium is long gone and the famous Roger Bannister/John Landy statue was moved to the geographically incorrect Renfrew Gate. Part of McGill and all of Bridgeway could be dubbed Miracle Mile for the famous Aug. 7, 1954 race in which two men ran a mile in less than four minutes for the first time. It would also please punters at the nearby Hastings Racecourse where a miracle happens whenever a longshot pony pays off.
  • Old: East Fifth Avenue. New: Passaglia-Lenarduzzi Piazza. Soccer's Lenarduzzi wore number five during his Vancouver Whitecaps and 86ers career. Passaglia had the same number with the B.C. Lions while becoming pro football's greatest kicker. They're the Eastside's most famous Italian-Canadian sons. Magnifico!
  • Finally, Terry Fox Way. It exists, almost unknown, by B.C. Place Stadium's west airlock but should actually encircle the entire stadium. The most important venue of the 2010 Games should've been named for the late cancer fighter when it opened 25 years ago this June.

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