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Many streets named after Holditch family


A plaque is erected at the site of the Big Nickel in Sudbury to honour the Holditch family. They once owned the property and the minerals rights where Dynamic Earth stands today. The family generously donated those rights to Science North.

William Holditch (1838-1899) and his brother, James, developed parts of Bracebridge and Sturgeon Falls before William moved to Sudbury in the 1880s. (There are streets named Holditch in Bracebridge and Sturgeon Falls.)

He owned and operated one of the first general stores in Sudbury, located at Elm and Paris/Notre Dame. He was also a prospector and a community builder.

William and his wife, Elizabeth, had 13 children. When he died in 1899, his son William Ernest Holditch (1872-1958) took over the family business. Ernest was a prospector and land developer.

He and his family lived in a stone home just off Lorne St. on Damaris Cres. The house is still standing today. Ernest and his wife, Mary Jane, had four children: Logan, Dean, Walter and Damaris.

All three sons served in the Second World War. After the war, the three brothers and Damaris’ husband, Harold Leck, went into the construction business.

The Holditch family built many neighbourhoods in Sudbury’s West End including Holditch Subdivision. Streets named after family members include Ernest, Gilman, Ethelbert, Reginald, Dean, Logan and Damaris.

Until her death a few years ago, Damaris Holditch Leck Barnard kept the family’s story and contribution to the community alive so they would not be forgotten.

Ted Szilva purchased land from the Holditch family to build the Big Nickel site which opened in 1964. He sold the property to the Regional Municipality of Sudbury 1981, and it was turned over to Science North.

This is from the Holditch family history website

Damaris with photos of her grandfather William Holditch (large photo) and father William Ernest

Damaris Elsie Barnard (Leck) (nee Holditch) died Friday 1st Apri, 2005,  at the age of 87. A religious woman, she was the daughter of a Sudbury pioneer William Ernest Holditch.

Many of the streets of the former city of Sudbury, including Logan, Dean and Walter, were named after members of her family. Damaris Crescent, near the Big Nickel, and close to the home where she was born, is named after Barnard.

In November 1992, managing editor Vicki Gilhula ( ) talked to Barnard about her family for a story on city street names. Gilhula remembers Barnard was proud of her family’s contribution to Sudbury.

This is an excerpt from that story: If Damaris Holditch Leck Barnard still lived in the house she grew up in, the Big Nickel would almost be in her backyard. Although Damaris’s family no longer owns the home built with nickel rockblasted from her family’s property in the city’s West End, it still stands proudly on the street that bears her name, Damaris Crescent. Damaris’s father William Ernest Holditch named the street after his only daughter. Holditch was a businessman who owned a grocery store at the corner of Elm Street and Notre Dame Avenue, as well as vast property and mineral holdings.

My father was a prospector, was involved in Larchwood Lumber Mill, he had two mines, he was in real estate and opened up many subdivisions, says Damaris.

In 1932, when he divided part of his property into a subdivision, Holditch named Logan, Dean and Walter Streets after Damaris’s three brothers. Mary and Jane Streets were named after her mother Mary Jane.

Damaris’s grandfather, William Holditch, came to Sudbury in 1880. He opened a grocery store and later passed the business on to his son William Ernest.

When William Ernest opened up a subdivision in the city’s core in 1914, he named streets after three of his brothers, Gilman, Ethelbert and Reginald. He named a small street after himself, Ernest.

At one time, Holditch owned all the land in Lot 9, Concessions 1 and 2 in the city’s southwest end as well as land around Ramsey Lake.

Holditch put in a road from Highway 17 West to Robinson Lake, now called Kelly Lake Road in 1909, before selling the property to Canadian Pacific Railway.

Years later, when Damaris, her husband, Harold Leck, (Harold Leck Construction Company) and her brother Walter Holditch, opened up Delwood Subdivision, Damaris played a role in the naming of the streets. Delwood Court is derived from her initials at the time, DEL for Damaris Elsie Leck. For Janmar Court, she took the first part of her niece’s name Janice and combined it with the mar part of Damaris.

Damaris’s first husband died in 1961. Fourteen and a half years later, she married Merle Barnard, a funeral director. He died in 1988.

Damaris Barnard had two children, Mel Leck and Shirley Kuz, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. During her life, she was active in the Larchwood Bible Chapel and the Sudbury Bible Fellowship.

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