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Rename Otto Street as Margaret Avenue?


Otto Street

Should we rename Otto Street to be Margaret Avenue? With all due respect to Otto Fleischauer, I believe it’s worth considering because it makes sense.

You may not even know Otto Street or where it is. It’s always been a short dead end street off Frederick right across from Suddaby School.

Recent work in Kitchener’s Civic District connected Otto Street to what essentially was a service road to drop off Centre in the Square patrons or to access a parking lot.

Previously when you were driving on Margaret and reached Queen, you needed to turn left or right on what was effectively a T intersection (unless you were accessing what I’m describing as a service road). You can now drive straight through to Frederick Street.

Otto Street history 

This map of  “Busy Berlin” shows Otto Street running off Frederick Street. It appears to have 15 houses on it.

The resident local historian at the Kitchener Public Library’s Central Branch believes the street may have been named after Otto Fleischauer. He lived in a house on the corner of Frederick and Otto.

Using Google I found in Uttley’s history of Kitchener, a reference to a merchant named Otto Flesichauer. That may be the same man though even if it is that history is not always accurate.

The same map shows many streets that we now know by other names. For example, Edward Street running parallel to Waterloo and Weber is now Duke Street presumably when Duke was extended to Francis.

I expect that Otto Street remained a residential street as a dead end at least until the block began being transformed into the Civic District–with the building of the Canada Revenue building, the Centre in the Square and the recently vacated provincial courthouse on Frederick at Lancaster.

With those changes and now being able to drive through the block, I’m not seeing any strong argument to keep the Otto Street name.

Name change connects Midtown to Central Frederick

I’m not a fan of streets that have multiple names when they are essentially the same street. Frederick/Benton is on prominent local example. (Not that I see that ever changing.)

That isn’t though the reason for suggesting the name change.

Rather, it comes from the realization one day that Margaret Avenue now extended to Frederick. For long time residents of this area like myself, that’s a major change to how we think of the neigbhourhood. Once the Margaret Ave. bridge is rebuilt, things like the Breithaupt Centre suddenly seem much closer.

Victoria Street and the train tracks have created a border between the Mount Hope – Breithaupt neighbourhood coming to be known these days as Midtown and the Central Frederick Neighbourhood. Lancaster and Weber are the only two larger streets that connect the two  neighbourhoods. Weber is so large, busy and long that it really doesn’t connect any neighbourhoods.

Changing Otto Street’s name to Margaret Avenue is more than a name change. I expect it’ll bring about a psychological change. By having Margaret come to Frederick Street, it better connects Midtown to Central Frederick and helps weave these neighbourhoods together.

What do you think?

Credits:

I found the Busy Berlin map on the Wonderful Waterloo forum. They found it on a historical site from the Region of Waterloo.

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2 comments on “Rename Otto Street as Margaret Avenue?

  1. You’ve been on this for a while and there have been no takers. Take the hint. It is NOT a priority. And if this is your political instinct, save your money and don’t run for office.

    • Hey! I guess you’ve seen this idea one time too many times and you probably didn’t like it the first time. I believe sometimes ideas take awhile to catch on. Seems to me three weeks isn’t too long to see if this idea takes off. Besides, I’ve had several positive comments to this suggestion via Twitter.

      I should let you know that like the idea or not, this post has already been included in the CFNA newsletter that has gone to print and will be distributed sometime over the next few weeks. People have been asked to leave their thoughts here.

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