Where The Streets Get Their Names – Rossland Road

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Like many of the other major arteries through the city, Rossland Road takes its name from the farmer who owned land in the second and third concessions in the 1800s, Rossland being the road between these concessions.  Atlases from the 1870s and 1890s shows John Ross and J. Ross owning these parcels of land; the challenge when researching this family is that Ross is a common name, and there were apparently two different Ross families, both with Scottish roots, who settled within East Whitby.

Above maps from the 1877 County of Ontario Atlas, showing land owned by the Ross family in East Whitby Township (left) and the Village of Oshawa (right).

According to Samuel Pedlar, James Ross Sr. (incorrectly identified by Pedlar as ‘John Ross’), was born in Morayshire, Scotland and in 1834 settled on the north half of lots 9 and 10 in the second concession.  James Sr. and his wife Helen were described as “ hard working industrious people of which any country might be proud.”

Together, this couple had five children, two daughters, and sons James (1843-1911), Alexander, and John.  Pedlar recorded that Alexander moved one township east, settling on the seventh concession in Darlington; John moved even farther away from Oshawa/East Whitby, “residing in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba,” however son James stayed very local and resided “at the homestead.”  Farming wasn’t his only interest for James Jr. who served as town councillor for several years.

James Jr. married his wife Rachael sometime before 1871, and the couple had four sons.  He died in 1911, and Rachael passed away 11 years later.  The couple is laid to rest in Union Cemetery.

A983.42.1 – excerpt from 1925 Oshawa Street Map showing Ross’ Road

For many years, Rossland was the northern limit to the Town/City of Oshawa, and often it was identified as ‘Ross’ Road.’  It was renamed Rossland sometime between 1930 and 1934.

3 thoughts on “Where The Streets Get Their Names – Rossland Road”

  1. one of the daughters of the Ross farm, was my grandmother, Sylva Armstrong (nee Sylva Ross) who married Army Armstrong of Armstrong Funeral Home. My grandmother told me stories of the farm. How it was on Ross’s Road. When she was very young, she climbed down the ladder into the dirt cellar and drank some cider. She got so inibriated, that she couldn’t climb out and sat on the dirt floor until her father came home. She never drank again. When it came time for her to drive, she bought a car and ventured out onto Ross’s Road heading west. She could find no where to turn the car and didn’t know how to do a three point turn, so she drove until she found a farmer’s gate that was open and turned the car around in the farmer’s field to head back home.

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