The Dardanelles

Not many street names in St. John’s begin with “The”. There’s The Parkway and The Boulevard, which both sound perfectly car-worthy…
And then there’s The Dardanelles. Connecting Barnes Rd. and where Hayward turns into Catherine, it’s name is uttered by many with a pirate-y snarl, “Arrrr, The Darrrrdanelles.” No pirates live there that I know, but the name’s history is certainly a dark and watery one.
The Strait of the Dardanelles is a stretch of water between the Marmara and Aegean Seas, and it has always been a site of strange and strategic crossings. Alexander the Great lead his army across it in 334 BC, beginning his campaign in the East. In myth, Hero guided her secret lover Leander across it nightly with a lamp from her tower. Her light was extinguished by a winter storm and Leander drowned. When his body washed ashore below her, Hero leapt to join him, and her death.
With Newfoundland being little invested in Greek myth, it’s likely that this short street is named after The Dardanelles Campaign. Though known here as the Battle of Gallipoli, it was the Allies’ attempt to take Constantinople during WWI. In 1915, a thousand Newfoundlanders landed on the shores of the Dardanelles to take part in the invasion which resulted in 180,000 Allied and 220,000 Turkish casualties.
Perhaps fittingly, not only do no pirates live there, but no residents either. Not a single house has an address on this Georgestown street.

– Lesley Thompson


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