Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Hay Street named for busy developer

Published on

George Mathewson

Though he lost his father nearly 45 years ago, Roger Hay sees signs of his dad almost everywhere he goes in Sarnia.


At least nine different city streets have names that originated with developer Lorne Hay, including Lorne Crescent, Hay Street and Hay Court.

“It’s cool. I know some of the houses that he built, the ones that aren’t in a subdivision. And I make sure I point them out to our kids,” Hay said.

“It always brings back great memories.”

Developer, politician, self-made man – Lorne Hay was born in 1914, one of five siblings who grew up in the Watford-Warwick area.

Unlike his university-bound siblings, Hay quit school at 16 and worked for his dad in the feed and grain store.

In the 1940s he began buying individual lots in Sarnia, building homes and selling them. That led to the founding of Hay Construction, just as Sarnia’s post-war boom was shifting into high gear.

Lorne Hay built more than 1,000 homes, his son said.

He named Connolly Drive for a sister who married into the Connolly family, Beverley Road after his daughter, and Roger Street for his son.

Roger Hay, 60, is a retired teacher who worked four years at High Park School, which backs onto Roger Street. Though he drove daily past the street sign bearing his name few of his co-workers were ever aware of the connection.

Lorne Hay also copyrighted plans for three split-level homes he designed himself, calling them the Capri, Bel Aire, and Bluair.

Models of the homes, in different sizes, can be found in various neighbourhoods and gave their names to Capri Street, Bel Aire Drive and Bluair Gate.

“I know the one we lived in was a Bluair, which was at the end of Capri Street,” said Roger Hay. “That was the last house he built.”

Hay partnered with Lou Dixon to form L & L Construction, and later they joined developer John Chrapko and business owner Fred Hutchison to buy the land then known as Murphy Woods. Today it’s called Twin Lakes subdivision.

Lorne Hay was elected to city council, was a Rotarian and served on the boards of the Children’s Aid Society, Parker Street United Church and National House Building Association.

He died in 1970 at the age of 55.

– With files from Tom St. Amand

Lorne Hay

Lorne Hay




More like this