Cathcart Boulevard was named for MPP

Professional dog-walker Rebecca Cole leads Kiska west on Cathcart Boulevard and into Canatara Park during a recent morning outing. George Mathewson

Note: The first in a series on how Sarnia’s streets got their names

It seems fitting that Cathcart Boulevard, which has carried both cars and trains, should be named for a provincial travel minister.

Bryan Lewis Cathcart was a Tory MPP from Lambton West who served as Ontario’s Minister of Travel and Publicity from 1955 to 1963.

Born in Washington State, Cathcart moved to Michigan and then attended high school in Sarnia.

He settled on this side of the border and became a grocer before getting a taste of municipal politics. In 1945 he was elected to the Ontario Legislature.

Cathcart Boulevard is exactly 99-feet wide and runs ruler-straight from the gates of Canatara Park to Modeland Road, and there’s a reason for that.

It was built on the Grand Trunk Railway corridor that once linked Toronto with Point Edward. Between 1910 and 1915 the line ran eight passenger trains a day – four eastbound and four westbound – over what is now Cathcart Boulevard.

As a politician, Cathcart was the force behind the creation of a string of 15 public parks on the St. Clair River south of Sarnia.

Thanks to his foresight the parkway remains an irreplaceable asset that’s popular with picnickers, anglers and cyclists.

Last week, Ottawa announced that a river park named for Cathcart will have its failing steel breakwalls replaced with natural stone shoreline protection.

The Corunna IODE also named its chapter after the Hon. Bryan L. Cathcart.

DEAD ENDS

Denmark Street: Was named by developer Niels Regner Blok-Anderson, a Dane who gave a number of city streets Scandinavian names, including Sweden and Norway.

He named Coral Way for the cottage he owned in Coral Gables, Florida, and Sylvia Avenue for a cousin, Sylvia Denomy.

– George Mathewson