From the Archives: St. Albert street names

If you are a long-time resident of St. Albert, you may know that the Downtown and Mission area of St. Albert used to have some very different names.

The Mission area in particular had streets named after saints. Today, we still have St. Vital Ave. But we also used to have St. Alphonse (Maple Drive), St. Hippolyte (Madonna Drive), St. John Baptist (Mount Royal Drive), and St. Joachim (Mill Drive). Mission Avenue was called Emery, and McKenney Avenue was called Oblates Avenue. Part of what is known today as Sir Winston Churchill Avenue was known as St. Louis. Perron Street was called Piron Street. The Piron name comes from the Piron family in France who donated the bells to the St. Albert Parish. These old street names would be changed sometime during the 1950s. Piron Street became Perron Street in 1967.

Also, St. Albert for a brief period of time in the 1950s had a dual system in the downtown area where streets were both numbered and named. For example, St. Anne Street was also known as 50 Ave. This was done in response to a request made by the Northwestern Utilities natural gas company.

A look through the St. Albert Town Council minute books in the archives shows that up until 1958, St. Albert did have some streets that were numbered. The following entries from the minute books outline the decision to change to our current system of consistent street naming, rather than street numbering.

March 28, 1958

Street and house numbering: Mr. Savoie moves that the Technical Advisory Committee be requested to study and recommend to the Board some system for the numbering of streets and houses within the town. Carried.  

June 11, 1958

Naming and numbering of streets: Mr. Potter moves that the recommendations of the Technical Advisory Committee for Neighborhood naming and Street naming and house numbering be adopted and that these be adapted to the final plan. Carried. 

February 11, 1959

By-law No. 4/59

House numbering and street naming bylaw

By-law No. 4/59 being a by-law to authorize the Board of Administrators of the New Town of St. Albert to adopt a system of house numbering and street naming was on the motion by Mr. Potter read for the first time. Carried.

Mr. Shogren moved that this by-law be read for a second time. Carried.

My. Kennedy moved that this by-law be read for the third time and final time. Carried. 

Since then, St. Albert has continued its tradition of naming streets and honouring significant individuals or families in the process, such as curler Hector Gervais, Mayor Cheri Hebert, Mayor and MLA Lucien Boudreau, the Cunningham family, the Bellerose family, Lorne Akins, and many others.

The archives is happy to help with any research or curiosities you have about St. Albert’s history! Please contact us at archives@artsandheritage.ca or visit museeheritage.ca for additional information.