Belwood street name

Dear Editor:

The village of Belwood was surveyed in 1856 by John Watt and George Fergusson, the latter being the son of Adam Fergusson, the co-founder of Fergus.

Equally as patriotic as its neighbour, Fergus, to the south, Belwood streets were given the traditional British names: Queen Street, St. Patrick Street, St. George Street, St. Andrew Street and St. David Street. It was decided, circa 1985, by the government of the day to erect new street signs – a nice idea. 

St. Patrick Street (Wellington Road 19) was abandoned and St. George Street took on a brand new, non-historical name: just plain George – a good name, but not accurate. 

Today, St. Andrew Street and St. David Street lie under Lake Belwood. If the 1906 Historical Atlas of Wellington County was used as the sole reference for the names of the new signs, this decision was likely the source of the problem. The “St.” which should precede “George” was covered by the words, Market Square – the present-day park. Other sources, it appears, were not checked. 

I have found in the archives copies of the original survey as well as Assessment Rolls from the 1940s which clearly indicate the correct name of the street: St. George. Jean Hutchinson, in her History of West Garafraxa Township, has referred to St. George Street on innumerable occasions. 

I have approached Mayor Kelly Linton on more than one occasion asking that the sign be changed, but unfortunately the responses and explanations were disappointing and patronizing. As well, I sent photos of the survey and assessment rolls to the mayor and to two other unelected officials with no response. 

In the interest of having historically accurate signage in Belwood or anywhere else, for that matter, I think it’s important that these officials, elected and non-elected, take accuracy seriously and proceed with the necessary steps to do what’s right. 

Choose any street in Fergus or Elora and change its spelling. Would it make a difference?

Bob Sargent,