Ann Brown’s Rolph Road Elementary School education left an indelible piece of trivia in her mind:
Markham Avenue was the only street in Leaside with no addresses.
That little detail led her, and the rest of the Remembering David Stickney committee members, to target it for a name change in honour of their fallen community leader.
In November, their hard work paid off when Ward 26 councillor Jon Burnside brought the item to North York Community Council, to have it approved.
Part of the job, Brown told the Town Crier, was going out to get signatures from residents whose homes backed on to Markham Avenue. Brown and company acquired 166 hard signatures, while an online petition set up by committee member Larry Hurd, garnered 484 more.
Most residents were for it, though one unnamed individual who did not take a shining to the committee’s proposal.
“There was an older resident that’s not in favour of it, but we made sure the city knew we had the signatures of those we needed, and let the councillor’s office know there was one person [opposed],” Brown said.
“As much as you want everybody to be happy, it’s unfortunate, but the response has been great.”
Another hiccup was that the committee was hoping for Stickney Way, but Stickney Avenue was approved.
“We all felt it was just a typo that happened along the way,” Brown said. “Burnside’s office tried to fix it but when they realized we had the designation wrong — a way is a windy and curved road.”
“That got a lot of people confused because we thought we had Stickney Way until we actually got the confirmation it was Stickney Avenue, and we went ‘What?'”
A way is considered a winding and curved road, but Markham is a short straight steet.
For Burnside, the renaming of the street hit close to home, as he had Stickney as a teacher for Grade 9 math at Leaside High School.
That relationship lasted beyond his high school career, as Stickney encouraged him to coach in the local hockey league after Burnside attended university, and in later years chopped wood for smoking ribs and brisket.
“The thing about Dave, is he helped a lot of people,” Burnside said. “The recognition he got when he was alive was not commensurate with what he did.”
David’s son, Eric, expressed the family’s gratitude for the show of support.
“Ann Brown spearheaded the thing, and she called me to tell me it went through,” Stickney said. “I’m really grateful for all her efforts.”
A celebration in honour of the street renaming is set for the spring, though no date has been confirmed.
The Remembering David Stickney committee next meets in February to focus efforts on a scholarship at Leaside High School in Stickney’s name, as well as a bench to be set at the foot of Cameron Crescent, where it meets the slope to the high school.