The above photo was taken at a street corner in the far eastern reaches of Orléans; an obscure intersection, but of course its pop-culture reference is anything but. Yes, it’s that Mulder & Scully, the duo from The X-Files. The story of how these two nondescript suburban thoroughfares got their televisual nomenclature has been told elsewhere but their existence does raise the question – are there other Ottawa streets named after fictional characters?
Well, the fact is that the practice of naming Ottawa streets for famous fictional characters has been going on, albeit sporadically, since as far back as 1899.
This was borne out in the pages of Ottawa Past and Present by one A.H.D. Ross, published back in 1927. In Volume II of that work, there is a list of the streets and parks running ten pages in total. In those ten pages are at least three examples that predate Mulder and Scully.
Take Belmont Avenue in old Ottawa South, for example. The street itself first appears by name in the Ottawa City Directory of 1899, which suggests that it was named in the previous year, given the lead time needed to produce those volumes in those days.
The name of Belmont seems not to have been taken from any actual person – though there are a number of candidates – but rather from a character in a play written for live theatre. Ross puts it down to “The Foundlings” by a writer named Moore. Possibly, this is actually 18th Century British playwright Edward Moore‘s work, “The Foundling”, that Ross referred to. There is in fact a “Sir Roger Belmont” among the cast of characters.
And then there’s Kenilworth Street, just a few blocks north of the old Civic Hospital campus. Mr. Ross alleges that the name was taken from the title of a novel by Sir Walter Scott published in 1821. Alternatively, some might well argue for the castle of the same name as the novel. As near as can be determined from the Ottawa City Directories of the day, that street started its life back in 1921-’22, part of the westward limits of Ottawa in what was then called Dalhousie Ward.
Finally, we have Pamilla Street just to the east of Kenilworth, off Preston Street. Ross counts this as a variant spelling of the name of the title character of one of the novels of Samuel Richardson. Likely, it’s of the same vintage as Kenilworth given their proximity to each other.