It will be exactly 50 years after the Guildford family first opened a business location in Burnside that the family's contribution to the local economy will be officially recognized with a street named for them in the business park. In fact, the company's newest location will anchor Guildford Avenue.
Guildfords moved into a new building on Wilkinson Avenue about a year ago. However, the street name situation changed recently. The previous plan was to make Wilkinson Avenue in Burnside a continuous loop, with the two ends branching off Wright Avenue and Jennett Avenue. The ends were started and businesses moved in, but the upcoming extension of Highway 118 has caused some changes in the plans for Wilkinson. It will now connect Wright Avenue with Highway 118. The end that branched off of Jennett Avenue will become a street in its own right and needs a new name.
Guildford Avenue it is. Halifax Regional Municipality approved the name in June. The change will go into effect in April 2013, just in time to coincide with the new Yellow Pages.
The news follows on the heels of something of a lobbying effort from the Guildford Group of Companies, which was offered a vote in what the new name would be. The city had put up two choices from its commemorative names list: Higney Avenue or Jim Connors Avenue. Higney Avenue honors the six Higney brothers of Dartmouth who served in World War II. Jim Connors was a lifelong resident of Dartmouth, a lawyer named Queen's Counsel and an Alderman from 1985 to 1991. Guildfords thought they had a better choice for the name.
Greg Brown, business development manager for the Guildford Group of Companies, told The Burnside News last month, "We're not too happy about having to go to the trouble of changing everything to reflect a new street name, especially as we just moved here a year or so ago, so we decided to turn the situation into something positive.
"Guildfords was the third company to locate in Burnside way back in the 1960s and we've never left the Park, although we've moved around. We think this company and the Guildford family have done a lot for Burnside over the years and renaming the street Guildford Avenue would be a wonderful way to honor the family's contribution."
Following the announcement, Brown was upbeat.
"We're pretty pleased with the outcome. We were expecting more resistance from HRM since we weren't putting forward an already approved name from the list, but I think once they realized we had everybody on board, and they could see the Guildford family contribution, they didn't have a problem with it."
According to Gayle MacLean, civic addressing coordinator for Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), everyone with a say agreed with Guildfords.
"I'm thrilled that Guildford Avenue was the name approved," she says. "There was 100 per cent agreement amongst the street tenants supporting the name and that almost never happens. Councilors supported the name, acknowledging the Guildford family contributions to the local economy since it first went into business in 1903. It was easy for us to approve the name."
Brown says in the course of researching history to support the Guildford Avenue proposal ,they found out the first and second businesses to have located in the Park have since closed, making Guildfords the oldest, continuously operating business in Burnside.
Although the Guildford family hasn't owned the company for a decade, Brown says the family was tremendously pleased to hear the news.
The name change will go into effect the year Guildfords celebrates 50 years of business in the Park.
"We didn't host an open house when we moved into the new building, but the street name and a 50th anniversary would really give us something to celebrate in 2013," Brown says.