What’s In A Name?

April 7, 2020
Discover the UBC Neighbourhoods’ links to history, the arts, academics, and the world’s highest honours

Many of the parks, street names and neighbourhoods around UBC – including Hawthorn Place, Chancellor Place, East Campus, Wesbrook Place and Hampton Place – aren’t just home to a diverse range of people, cultures, shops and businesses. They’re also home to some impressive namesakes, too – from authors and architects to innovative trailblazers and Nobel Prize winners. Here’s an ABC’s snapshot of some of the community’s proud links to notable figures from the past.

Berton Avenue in Wesbrook Place was named after Pierre Berton, a UBC alumnus who went on to become a renowned writer and journalist. A prolific author, Berton’s works included “The National Dream” and “The Last Spike”.

Binning Road is named for B. C. Binning who helped found the UBC Fine Arts Department and taught at the UBC School of Architecture.

Earle Birney lends his name to Birney Avenue. The founder of UBC’s creative writing program, Birney joined the Department of English in 1946, where he taught the first credit course in creative writing that was offered by a Canadian university.

Brockhouse Park, located in Wesbrook Place, recognizes Bertram N. Brockhouse, a UBC physicist who would go on to share in the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1994.

Eagles Park and Eagles Drive, both located in Hawthorn Place, honour Blythe Alfred Eagles who had a long history in agriculture at UBC. He was Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture from 1949 to 1967 and later became Chairman of the Division of Animal Science.

Mabel Gray, Professor of Nursing and Health at UBC from 1925 to 1941, lends her name to Gray Avenue in Wesbrook Place. She served as president of the Canadian Nurses’ Association and later as president of the Registered Nurses’ Association of BC.

Harry Hawthorn was an Anthropology professor at UBC and a member of faculty for nearly three decades (1947 to 1976). He was also a director of the Museum of Anthropology. The Hawthorn Place neighbourhood bears his name, which is also home to Hawthorn Lane and Hawthorn Park.

Khorana Park in Wesbrook Place honours Har Gobind Khorana, the first head of the organic chemistry program at the BC Research Council, instructor at the Department of Biochemistry and winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1968.

Larkin Drive is named for Peter Larkin who worked in the Fisheries Institute and then the Department of Zoology, eventually becoming head of the department. He later became Dean of Graduate Studies and subsequently vice-president in charge of research.

Helen McCrae was Dean of Women at UBC from 1959 to 1973 and was a strong advocate for women’s education and nursing. McCrae Lane, a pedestrian walkway between two parks in Wesbroook Place, bears her name.

Mundell Park recognizes UBC alumnus Robert A. Mundell who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1999. Mundell is often referred to as the “father” of the modern euro currency as it was his work that paved the way for its introduction.

Ross Drive in Wesbrook Place is named after Phyllis Ross. She was appointed to the Board of Governors in 1957 and, in 1961, became the first woman in the Commonwealth to be elected to the position of Chancellor.

Home to many popular shops and restaurants in Wesbrook Place, Shrum Lane is named in honour of Gordon M. Shrum, former Dean of UBC’s Faculty of Graduate Studies. Gordon went on to become Head of the Department of Physics and, later, Chancellor at Simon Fraser University.

Michael Smith Park, also located in Wesbrook Place, recognizes the achievements of the UBC Chemistry professor who would later share in the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993.

Located in Hawthorn Place, Jim Taylor Park is named for James P. Taylor Q.C. Jim was a UBC alumnus and law professor and was dedicated to the UBC community. He was instrumental in setting up the University Neighbourhoods Association (UNA) and served as its first chair.

Wesbrook Place, the largest residential community out of the five in the area, bears the name of Frank Fairchild Wesbrook, the first president of UBC from 1913 to 1918.

It’s a pretty impressive list, isn’t it? So whether you’re driving along Eagles Drive, taking a walk through Jim Taylor Park, relaxing in your home in Hawthorn Place or buying a coffee to go in Wesbrook Village, take a moment to remember that you’re in pretty good company.

** Special thanks to the Archives Department at the UBC Library.