The process began with a local resident who had contacted myself and our local Councillor, Vincent Crisanti with the idea of having these signs. Through the Councillor’s office I found that traditionally these signs are instigated by BIA’s (Business Improvement Area’s) for local areas. The BIA’s design and pay for these signs which usually recognize the history of a neighbourhood.
Here in Thistletown things are a little different. Our BIA is named “Albion Islington Square, Home of Thistletown Village” which reflects the business area but not the residential area. The resident who proposed the idea wished to have historic signs installed at the four corners of Albion & Islington, as well as other predominant streets in the area. You would think that this would be any easy process, especially since this resident was willing to pay for the signs. Unfortunately, we were wrong!
We started off by forming the Thistletown Historical Society since all requests of this nature have to be brought to the City by an organization. After that was done, we put in our request to Transportation Services and cc’d it to our Councillor.
The BIA found about our plans and immediately contacted us with a proposal to erect street signs along the business area reflecting “Albion Islington Square”. Their reasoning was that any street signs recognizing the area should say “Albion Islington Square” since those streets were within their boundaries. Since BIA’s are recognized & partially funded by the City of Toronto we were unable to proceed with our signs until we came to an agreement with them. I won’t pretend that it was easy doing so. After several meetings between the BIA, our local Councillor and ourselves, we finally came to a compromise.
Eventually, in the interest of making this happen, we agreed to install our signs outside of their boundaries and in return they are installing signs that will read “Albion Islington Square, Home of Thistletown Village” within their boundaries. They are also responsible for replacing any signs that are damaged or destroyed whereas the Thistletown Historical Society is only responsible for the initial cost of our signs and any damage or replacement will be done by the City.
After consultation with the City, we came up with the design and the signs were produced. There are 18 signs that have been installed on Islington Ave from Finch Ave in the north to Wardlaw Cres., then from Sandhill Dr to Barker Ave. On Albion Rd they will be installed from Kipling Ave to Toddbrook Cres and then from Lund Ave to Bankfield Dr. They were installed in June of 2015 & the Albion Islington Square signs were installed in October of 2015.
We have had a number of residents order the Thistletown street signs for their own street & they should be installed by December 1. Anyone else who is interested, the cost is $102 per sign and all they need to do is take up a collection from their neighbours to make it happen. Our goal is to have every street in Thistletown reflect the history of our area.
This is all thanks to a long term resident who wants to preserve Thistletown and its history. I wish I could divulge the name, but this resident wishes to remain anonymous. If you are reading this, just know that we appreciate your community spirit more than I can put into words.
- Written and Posted by Joanna Twitchin, EHS Membership Secretary & Board Member