By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement
People who are familiar with Oshawa’s streets might not give a second thought when they approach the intersection of Ritson Road and Adelaide Avenue; to some it may just be a crossing of two major arteries. If you dig a little deeper though, you might be surprised to learn the stories behind these two names, and the names of other streets in our city. Today, we’ll look at the history behind Adelaide Avenue.
Today, Adelaide Avenue is a major east-west road through our city, however the street name itself is just over 50 years old. Before 1959, Alice Street ran east from Mary Street and Louisa Street ran west from Simcoe Street North. If you notice on the above map, the two streets to not meet nor intersect. These names were withdrawn and renamed Adelaide Avenue in honour of Mrs. R.S. McLaughlin. There is a slight jog in Adelaide Avenue at Simcoe Street which resulted from connecting the two streets.
The names Alice and Louisa have not been used since for any roads.
Adelaide Mowbray was born in 1875 and married R.S. McLaughlin in 1898.
The McLaughlin’s were renowned in Oshawa and across the province for their philanthropy and generosity, and Mrs. McLaughlin herself devoted her time and efforts to several causes. Adelaide set out with other women in the community to raise funds for a hospital in Oshawa, and Oshawa General Hospital officially opened in 1910. She founded and served as head of the Hospital Auxiliary for over 50 years. Mrs. McLaughlin also served as Honorary President of the Canadian Home and School and Parent-Teacher Federation, and she was a proud supporter of the YWCA, Girl Guides, the Ontario Historical Society, Women’s Welfare League, St. John’s Ambulance, and the Victorian Order of Nurses, among other causes. Mrs. McLaughlin’s Chrysanthemum Teas at Parkwood Estate were celebrated events, often hosting over 800 people a year.
There is another street in Oshawa named in Adelaide’s honour.
Alma Street, named circa 1910, is an acrostic formed from the names of Mrs. Adelaide Louise(R.S.) McLaughlin and Mrs. Mazo (Robert): A.L.MA.
These women were essential workers in the fund raising campaign to construct a hospital in Oshawa.