Street Names

Martello Street to become Cathedral Lane

A cathedral in Halifax gathers cash and support to rename city street

Martello Street will be no more in a few months.
Martello Street will be no more in a few months.   Nick Holland

The Cathedral Church of All Saints has been on a mission for nine years, and it’s not a religious one.

Ben Cookey, a longtime member of the church, wanted to change the name of Martello Street to Cathedral Lane.

And so he did.

The 74-year-old retired doctor called up the city earlier this year and asked to change the street name. At Tuesday’s city council meeting, the motion passed — within one minute.

“I said, ‘Oh good,’” Cookey said. “I thank (the city) for considering it. In fact, I should write a note to … thank them.”

Martello Street runs parallel to South Park Street. It also connects to Spring Garden Road and University Avenue.

Changing the name of a street isn’t easy. The rules state anyone requesting a name change has to have the permission of every other property owner on the street.

And the fee just to request the name change is $2,000.

“I think the money came from heaven,” Cookey said laughing.

He said the church footed the bill.

Parishioners first tried to change the name of the street in 2007 when half of Tower Road became Martello Street.

Tower Road once connected Saint Mary’s University to Spring Garden Road. After the parking lot at the Victoria General was built, the road was split in half.

Halifax bylaws don’t allow a single street to be split up because it can be confusing and creates a safety issue, said Gayle MacLean, civic address co-ordinator for the city.

“Martello was chosen because Martello Tower is where that road takes you to,” she said.

Without the support of everyone on the street, the church put its plan for Cathedral Lane on hold.

The Cathedral Church of All Saints is behind the name change.
The Cathedral Church of All Saints is behind the name change.   Nick Holland

There’s a lot involved in changing a name, from getting the support of everyone on the street to handling the paperwork once the city gets a request. That’s why the city discourages it.

“Address changes can be very disruptive,” said MacLean.

It’s much easier, however, to name a new street.

On the same day that Cookey’s request was approved, council passed a motion naming eight private and public roads that are new and had no names. One other public road in East Preston was also renamed.

It will cost about $1,335 to make all 10 of the new street signs.

MacLean said the change from Martello Street to Cathedral Lane will likely occur in June or July. The city has to give a minimum of 60 days notice to let people know the street name is changing.

Cookey said the new name is appropriate and he expects people will get used to it.

“The name’s not that bad,” he said.