There is a movement afoot to name the recently unveiled Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge (better known as Ottawa’s Eiffel Tower) Vimy Bridge. Silly word games aside, I’m not really in favour of naming the bridge after the famous World War I battle, and I’m generally against the knee-jerk instinct to name new things after war, but what caught my attention was this comment by councillor Steve Desroches:
“My view was that the bridge naming would be of a national significance given our role as the nation’s capital,” said Desroches. “The focus to date has been 100 per cent on completing the project and getting it open to traffic and buses, and now that we’ve reached that milestone, I think it’s the right time to talk about the future name of the bridge.”
Being the nation’s capital is undoubtedly a significant part of Ottawa’s character, so it is only logical that certain names will have “national significance”. This is why we have Laurier Avenue or Prince of Wales Drive, or anything with the names Macdonald and/or Cartier. It’s also why we have deal with meddlesome federal bodies like the NCC.
However, Ottawa has a rich history outside of its role as national capital. It is entirely appropriate for prominent structures to carry names that carry local significance. It would be great if we could find a name that had direct and prominent links to Ottawa or the surrounding area.
So, naturally, Emjay Memorial Bridge it shall be.