NEWS

Frank Ney, Nanaimo's pirate mayor, behind unusual street names

01/14/2015 06:38 EST | Updated 03/16/2015 05:59 EDT
Nanaimo, B.C.'s eccentric road names are the legacy of former larger-than-life mayor Frank Ney, says the local rock musician who wrote his biography.

An On the Coast traffic update from Nanaimo's Jingle Pot Road prompted a Twitter conversation about other unusual street names in that city, like Buttertubs Drive and Dingle Bingle Hill.

Nanaimo native Paul Gogo, the keyboardist of the rock band Trooper, wrote Frank Ney: A Canadian Legend, a biography of the colourful former mayor.

Gogo says Ney, who led the the city on and off for 21 years from 1968 to 1990, used to greet people in the harbour dressed as a pirate.

"He was a lot of fun. He had five different pirate outfits, and those went right back to the 50s," said Gogo.

Ney was a developer as well as the city's mayor, which enabled him to name the streets of many new neighbourhoods.

"Some like Tiggly Wiggly Road...he would just ask his kids to come up with funny names," said Gogo.

Gogo says that despite Ney's eccentric persona, he had "tremendous respect" in the community.

"[He was] a very beloved person and he was a great, great person and a true genius," said Gogo.

Ney developed neighbourhoods with extremely affordable properties, and gave away some of his holdings as park land.

He also supported the city's first famous bathtub races during Canada's centennial celebrations in 1967.

"He just wanted people to be happy and make the most out of life," said Gogo. "It was all fun and in good taste."

To listen to the full interview with Paul Gogo, click on the audio labelled: The pirate mayor behind Nanaimo's unusual street names.

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