The Town of Bay Roberts is continuing its trend of recognizing and honouring some of its more recognizable citizens by renaming two roads after former mayors, Eric Dawe and George Mercer.
This follows the recent renaming of the former Conception Bay Access Road as L.T. Stick Drive, and the naming of roads in the Birch Hills Business Park after sealing vessels The Hunter and The Excel.
Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood said the idea to rename both stems from a movement to rename places and roads after individuals who made a "contribution to the life (of the town)."
"Both had a significant impact on the town, and both have a great deal of pride in the community," said Wood. "It is important to recognize them."
Wood indicated that two existing roads will be renamed after Dawe and Mercer.
Track Road, which Amalgamated Academy currently sits on, will see its name shift to Eric Dawe Drive, while Coley's Point North Road now becomes George Mercer Drive.
Wood said it will be nice for residents and visitors to the town to be able to "put a face and a name with the area."
"George (Mercer) did a lot for Coley's Point," said Wood. "He's lived there, as well as operated a business there for 40 years.
"It's important we show our appreciation for the work they both did."
Wood said the town pushed for the naming to occur now rather than later because it recognized the importance of honouring the two men while they are still with us.
Both Dawe and Mercer have storied connections with the Town of Bay Roberts.
Dawe was elected in 1951 to the first Bay Roberts town council, and is the only remaining, living member of that council.
He would serve 16 years on council, eight of those as mayor.
Dawe also served as the president for the Newfoundland Federation of Mayors and Municipalities and was a driving force behind the amalgamation of Bay Roberts and its outlying communities in 1951.
Dawe's political career did not end with municipal politics, as he once served as the Liberal MHA for the Port de Grave in 1969 before losing the Liberal nomination to James Hussey in 1971. He would return to provincial politics in 1975 when he defeated Hussey and Conservative George Wilson. Dawe held the seat until 1979 when Tory candidate Randy Collins took the seat.
Dawe is a longtime businessman in the town, managing Dawe's Nail and Hardware for six years after entering the family business in 1941. After his retirement from politics, Dawe became the operating manager for Atlantic Coal, Oil and Salt on the Coley's Point side of Bay Robert's Harbour. It is a business that is still operating today.
As Wood put it, Mercer has "served both town and country" during his 92 years.
He enlisted in the Royal Navy in February of 1940, a year after Canada entered the Second World War.
After the war, Mercer opened an auto repair garage next to his home on the corner of the Conception Bay Highway and Coley's Point North Road. He operated the business until his retirement.
Mercer was a leader in both the Royal Canadian Legion and the Bay Roberts Lions Club, and also entered municipal politics in the 1970s, serving as mayor from 1973 to '81.
"Both men were humble when we contacted them," said Wood. "They said they never asked for it."
Renaming streets is about recognition and remembering where Bay Roberts comes from, stated Wood.
"It's about remembering that we just didn't appear," he said.
Wood said he would like the trend of honouring prominent citizens to continue.
"It's the right thing (to do)," he said. "It shows the town has a history of people who loved it and put their heart and soul into the town."
The town is looking at sometime in September to officially rename the roads.