What happened to 1st Street through 6th Street on Kamloops' North Shore? - InfoNews

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What happened to 1st Street through 6th Street on Kamloops' North Shore?

The interesction of Fortune Drive, and 7th Street and Sydney Avenue.
March 01, 2018 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - As you drive along the Overlanders Bridge from the city's south shore to the North Shore, you have one of two options. Go straight and head onto Fortune Drive or take the overpass to Tranquille Road.

Fortune Drive is home to apartment buildings, single-family homes and a shopping centre. Along the stretch of road are several streets, many of which are named after trees like Juniper, Cypress, Spruce and Birch.

But seemingly out of nowhere, just past the Northills Mall, there is a section of numbered streets — 7th Street, 8th Street and so on through to 14th Street. On the north side of Kamloops, 1st Street through 6th Street don't exist — never have — and it isn't exactly clear why.

The Kamloops Daily News tried to tackle this question approximately eight years ago. They spoke with the local archivist Elisabeth Duckworth, the city's traffic planner, the North Shore Business Improvement Association, a former mayor, a former city councillor for North Kamloops before it became part of the city, and the former mayor of Brocklehurst before it also became a part of Kamloops.

Rod Martin with the City of Kamloops.
Rod Martin with the City of Kamloops.

"They did a bunch of research, asked a bunch of people who had been on the North Shore for years. They didn’t know the answer," City of Kamloops Planning and Development manager Rod Martin says.

Not one person could explain why there was a seemingly random stretch of North Kamloops that had numbered streets starting at 7th Street.

Although it's speculation, Martin has an idea of what might have happened.

It's important to note North Kamloops didn't become a part of the City of Kamloops until 1967. Until then it was its own community.

Back in 1961 when it was still its own city, the Overlanders Bridge was built to connect North Kamloops to Kamloops. With that came the addition of Fortune Drive, connecting the north end of the bridge all the way to the intersection of Tranquille Road and 8th Street.

Originally, the section of numbered streets went from 8th Street and Tranquille to 14th Street and Tranquille. What we now know as 7th Street was originally called Leigh Road, and although it's not clear when the name change took place, Martin believes it would have been around the same time the bridge was built and Fortune Drive went in.

Martin says his guess for why the streets are named this way is that a grid road pattern was started at 8th Street and Tranquille Road. 

"Those numbers, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, match up with that 100-block of Tranquille Road and Fortune Drive as you go along," Martin says. "(Those were) already the addresses on that area of Tranquille Road, so it made sense... Why it stopped at 14th, I don’t know."

The stretch of Tranquille Road that's closest to the Thompson River runs a different direction, Martin says, so no corresponding 100-blocks there either, along with the stretch of Fortune Drive. There are a handful of different streets within the 100-block of Tranquille Road.

"That’s the grid road addressing that we have for the entire city, that’s the pattern we have to follow," Martin says.

The "Our First Streets" document at the Kamloops Museum and Archives offers an in-depth look at street names across the city.

Street names on the North Shore in general appear to have been a topic of interest for years. In an undated document titled Our First Streets at the Kamloops Museum and Archives, former archivist Mary Balf asks her own questions about the different street names on the north side of the city.

"Even two of the earliest North Kamloops street names are of unknown origin; we have no record of any Leigh in the district, and only a single reference to William McKenzie, whose home burned in 1915," Balf writes. "Maybe some early settler can help us with this area!"

It might not be a perfect answer to the question that bugs some Kamloops residents each time they drive through the North Shore, but it appears to be the best guess at this point.

Archivists like Balf and Duckworth, and residents whose families have been here for generations offer a unique and in-depth insight to our city's history, before much of it was even part of the city. In Our First Streets, Balf is clear about the importance of history to the growth of a city.

"A City gains, I believe, a sense of present and future value in paying tribute to its past. Let us at least avoid the cruel irony of another Oak Hills, built in the 1894 river bed, over 300 miles from the nearest native oak tree!"

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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