Wednesday, January 23, 2013

St. Catharine's Well

Father Hennepin
Father Hennepin (Photo credit: massdistraction)


It is a bit difficult to get around in St. Catharines because so many of

the main roads were built on Indian trails and the urban grid was later

superimposed on top of them. 

Some people whip around here like they are reincarnated Mohawk

warriors, but for me, even after a year of living in the North End,

I still get lost.

Flynn was very relieved when I bought a GPS for the spy car.  She

was missing walk time while I drove in circles trying to find my way.

But the thing that has always puzzled me about the city is the s on the

end of Caharine.

Could there have been two Catharines?

But then we would say 'The City of the Saintes Catharine'.


Our hockey teams would have a hard time fitting that on their jerseys.

 I wondered why it wasn't named St. Catharine if only one woman was

being honoured??

Then I read in John Jackson's book, St. Catharines, the early years,  

this totally unverified story:

In the 1600s the French explorer LaSalle came to this area with a Catholic

priest by the name of Father Hennepin. 

When they found a beautiful freshwater spring they decided to camp

for the night and Father Hennepin said mass. 

He noted that it was the Feast Day of St. Catharine and so he and LaSalle

named the place St. Catharine's Well.

The problem with this story is that the name St. Catharines doesn't  

turn up again in any records for 100 years and by that time it was

the British who were here because New France had fallen.

But I love the story!
 And it sure does explain that s.

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Debra She Who Seeks said...

Interesting! And St. Catherines' street system sounds like Winnipeg's downtown area too -- all twisty and turny and weird because it was based on pre-existing settlement trails.

Jane said...

The history behind place names is always pretty interesting. And if St. Catherine's is anything like Winnipeg's downtown - I'm not surprised you were driving in circles for the first while!

OmaLindasOldeBaggsandStuftShirts said...

Francie: I wanted to drop by your blog and let you know that Celebrate Oz 2013 will be on March 15th and to give you a link to the sign up:
I hope you will consider joining us again this year for the crazy fun. Oma Linda

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

That is a very nice story! In Montreal, there is a (French version) 'Rue Ste-Catherine', which is one of the most popular streets downtown. But there, it just goes straight east or west, no twists or turns. I don't know who this lady was, but it seems she's quite popular. She sure does get around, eh?

Magaly Guerrero said...

Hm, I've enjoyed the history of St. Catherine so much that I will go and research the story behind Hooker Place... I wonder, wonder, wonder ;-)

Introverted Art said...

I still get lost... especially with the roads that curve around. I have a PS as well and although it is so helpful, I wonder if it is not hindering my survival skills.