Main Street - International Use and Equivalents


International Use and Equivalents

  • Many small Canadian cities and towns also have Main Streets (or, en français, « la Rue Principale ») although in most cases the street itself will have a name particular to that town, rather than being officially known as "Main Street." The phrase "a town where the main street is still called Main Street" is occasionally used as being synonymous with small-town values.
  • In Ottawa, main streets of various individual villages which had been annexed to the larger urban municipality bear names like "Manotick Main" or "Osgoode Main" to distinguish them from Smyth Road (which becomes "Main Street" in one small area southeast of downtown Ottawa) and from each other. The actual main street of centretown Ottawa is Bank Street.
  • In Toronto, however, Main Street is a mostly residential avenue in the city's east end. (At one time it was the main street of the hamlet of East Toronto, which was annexed by the city of Toronto in 1908. It has kept its historic name, and evidence of its commercial origins can be seen in the stores at the corner of Main and Gerrard Streets.) Toronto's main street is Yonge Street.
  • Saint Laurent Boulevard, which divides Montreal between east and west, is unofficially known as "the Main." Main Street in Vancouver is a neighbourhood shopping street, near the dividing line between east and west side of town. However, the city's main city centre shopping street is Robson Street.
  • In Australia and New Zealand, smaller urban centres often have a main street. In some towns this street is officially designated Main Street or High Street; rarer variants include Main Road, Commercial Road, and Commerce Street. Often, though, the street is given a name peculiar to the town. For many small towns, the main street forms part of the principal road into, or through, the town. Large centres often have a central business district in which no one street is a clear focus for commercial activity, though for historical or cultural reasons there is often one street regarded as the city's "main street". Examples include Melbourne's Collins Street, Adelaide's King William Street, Auckland's Queen Street, and Christchurch's Colombo Street.
  • In Ireland most towns have a "main street", and this is usually the term given colloquially (for example, in offering road directions), though the primary thoroughfare of cities are often named after an historical figure, e.g. O'Connell Street. A more recent phenomenon in the media and with younger people is the misapplication of the term "high street" to describe typical or average street level fashion—likely due to advertising by various British retail multiples which began operating in Ireland during the "Celtic Tiger" years.
  • In England, the terms "Market Street" or "Market Place" are often used to designate the heart of a town or city, as is the more common High Street (particularly in newer urban developments, or towns or cities which were not original market towns). High Street is often the name of a fairly busy street with small shops on either side, often in towns and villages.
  • In Hong Kong, "Main Street" can be translated in Chinese into Zheng Jie (正街) or Da Jie (大街); however, the actual "正街" in Hong Kong (officially "Centre Street") is a branch road off Sheung Wan District.
  • In Germany, the Hauptstraße (literally "Main Street") is a highly trafficked street. Hauptstraßen even have formal recognition in road construction guidelines, which specify the width of lanes, for example. The term chiefly refers to motorized traffic, whereas "Einkaufsstraße" (shopping street) or "Fußgängerzone" (pedestrian district) refer to retail in the sense of Engl. "Main Street".
  • In Sweden and Norway, almost all towns and cities have their own main street, a street called Storgatan/Storgaten (literally, "The big street"). They are typically surrounded by stores and restaurants, and increasingly open for pedestrians only. Likewise, in both Sweden and Norway this type of street is called gågata/gågate (literally, "walkingstreet").
  • In most Italian municipalities, the highway or at another major route is called Via Roma. This was done at the behest of Benito Mussolini, who gave the order in 1939 to commemorate the March on Rome.
  • Jalan Besar (roughly translated from Malay as "Main Road") is a common street name used in Malaysia (and to a more limited extent, Singapore) when referring to main streets of older urban centres in the country. Such main streets were originally constructed during British colonisation of territories in present day Malaysia and Singapore, and were named in English as "Main Street" or "Main Road", depending on the size and nature of the urban centre, and oftentimes are laid out as parts of major thoroughfares between larger towns and cities.
    • The independence of states that would form Malaysia and the introduction of the Malay language as the country's national language in 1967 led to extensive renaming of certain Main Streets or Main Roads to "Jalan Besar" in Malaysia the following decades. Large cities (such as state capitals) tend to forgo the use of "Main Street" or "Main Road" altogether as commercial or transport activity may be concentrated along more than one street.
  • In South Africa, Main Road is the term used for the same concept as Main Street in the U.S. and High Street in the U.K.
  • In Cambodia, the Main Road is between the Rice fields and settlements.

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