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When dog is called cat — the city’s wobbly history of naming, for love and money

KELLY EGAN, Ottawa Citizen
Updated: August 17, 2018

Don’t ever let the City of Ottawa name your pet or child.

After a hellishly long wait, the new dog will be called “Hamster” or “Cat” or “Cilantro”, your twins will be named “Even” and “Worse.” Honestly, the city is that bad at these things.

Last month we stirred the waters over the decision to name the new footbridge over the Rideau Canal for Flora MacDonald (1926-2015), Canada’s first female foreign affairs minister and a Nova Scotia/Kingston/Ottawa woman with an accomplished post-Parliamentary life. All well and good but how this merits being chiselled, for an eternity, into a piece of downtown infrastructure for bikes and bipeds is a mystery.

It is odd, if not suspicious, that after months of study, the final list of five candidates not only wasn’t very inspired — Mutchmor, Fifth Clegg, Flora, Midtown, Rideau Crossing — but only contained the first name of one individual in living memory.

We shall only mention in passing the strange decisions to name the city’s smashing new archives building — the repository of the city’s ancestral bones, if you will — after James Bartleman, a career diplomat born in Orillia who became Ontario’s first indigenous lieutenant-governor. Because, you know, he’s such an obvious choice for Bytown-era artifacts.

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