Twenty Seventh Street is in Toronto, or at least it has been since 1998 when the former City of Etobicoke and other municipalities were amalgamated into the greater City. Anyone around here would never say Etobicoke though, but rather South Etobicoke. Some people would call that Lakeshore, and that really means three communities along Lake Ontario, known as Mimico (on the east), New Toronto (in the middle) and Long Branch (to the west – that’s us). Go west of Long Branch and you’re into Mississauga, or you might say, Lakeview, Port Credit and Clarkson.
The Community of Long Branch stretches from Twenty Third Street (beside the R.L. Clark Filtration Plant) west to Marie Curtis Park (and Etobicoke Creek. Most people I know who live here self identify as living in Long Branch. It isn’t that we don’t consider ourselves part of Toronto or the former Etobicoke, or should I say South Etobicoke, but we do definitely identify with Long Branch. This may be because the Lakeshore communities are isolated in a way, squeezed between the lake to the south the the tracks and the expressway to the north.
We’re members of the Etobicoke Historical Society, and along with our membership we receive their publication, The Aldernews. In the April edition, Denise Harris has a piece about Etobicoke street name origins.
According to Ms Harris, in 1935, the Village of Long Branch changed the names of 35 streets to facilitate postal delivery by eliminating confusion with similar street names in other municipalities. Twenty Seventh Street used to be Teak Avenue. Lake Prominade was Beach Road, not to be confused with Beech Avenue, which became City Road. In a transition from tree to flower, Spruce Avenue became Iris Road. Balsam Avenue became Ramsgate Road. The numeric naming of streets from Twenty Third to Forty Third continued the protocol that had been adopted by New Toronto to the east around 1900. I had no idea until reading this article that so many street names had changed around here.
I suppose you could say our identity has been somewhat fugitive with both changing street names and municipal designations. I wonder if identification with Long Branch rather than Etobicoke or Toronto has intensified since amalgamation?
Don’t forget Hurricane Hazel; a big part of Long Branch history. And the fact that we only have one side to 42 Street and no 43 Street on the south side and no Island Road. The government expropriated all the land and houses on these streets. Apparently they also took part of Lake Promenade. You can see by the way the ground slopes that it was a good idea to turn it into parkland.