In recent weeks, Ottawa residents had to deal with the renaming of Robertson Road.
For anyone who shares the concern that local history and heritage are being rolled over, you should also be concerned that there is another street renaming in the process.
This is hundred times bigger than Robertson Road.
This is about the oldest street in the city, Wellington Street, named by the city founder, Lt-Col John By himself to honor the Duke of Wellington who funded the building of the Rideau Canal with over £800,000 pounds between 1826-1832.
In case you missed it on the Ottawa Sun website, here is the story :
The Rideau Canal is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site and 2012 will mark the 180th anniversary of its opening.
The canal is the centrepoint of the city. To the west is Wellington Street with the Parliament Buildings, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Library and Archives Canada, the Justice Department, the Bank of Canada and the Prime Minister's Office.
The west side of the canal was referred to as Uppertown or Upper Bytown.
On the east side, there is Rideau Street and closeby the By Market. This was Lowertown or Lower Bytown.
Renaming Wellington Street for the sake of renaming makes no sense.
Proposing to rename Wellington Street to Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard may seem like a noble cause. It is nothing less than a bear trap.
There is already a MacDonald Street (notwithstanding the spelling mistake - no capital D) which is parallel to Cartier Street. These street have been around since the 1880s and are known by the local population.
As an organization that bares the names of the two most important Father of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier, we are not opposed to celebrating their achievements and commemorating their memories.
Quite the opposite. Since the early days of our campaign, we have proposed an alternative common-sense solution. A solution that would commemorate these great men equally which respecting local history and without disrespecting heritage.
What we have proposed is to rename Airport Parkway to Macdonald-Cartier Airport Parkway. It makes sense. The city's airport is named after Macdonald-Cartier. The current road name is administrative bland.
There is also historic precedent. The last time this issue was considered at city hall in 2003, the National Capital Commission had a "formal objection" to the matter. This time it's much less clear.
The mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson does not support the renaming, yet the Planning Committee is going ahead and is expected to receive a report in September.
If this issue interests you, please visit www.savewellingtonst.ca
Chair of the Save Wellington Street campaign
Founder and Executive Director, Société Macdonald-Cartier Society