I made a comment on Twitter while I was watching the Gloucester-South Nepean debate yesterday; it would be lovely if we had more differentiation between ward names. I mean, I get why it’s Kanata North and Kanata South…we can keep that straight, sort of. But why do we have Gloucester-South Nepean and Gloucester-Southgate; and Rideau-Vanier, Rideau-Rockliffe and Rideau-Goulbourn?
That brought my mind back to a similar…well, complaint is too strong a word…quandary: why is it called Capital Ward? Yes, yes, we’re the capital city, but why use it as the moniker for our ward? Really, if anything should be called “Capital”, it should be Somerset Ward; they’ve got both Parliament and City Hall. They’re closer to being the capital ward of the capital city.
Every other ward seems to be named after either the community, a prominent feature of the ward or a prominent street (which is also the name of a community). “Capital” is none of those things, I’d say.
So I wondered to what it could be changed. You couldn’t name it after one of the neighbourhoods, and Glebe-Old Ottawa South-Old Ottawa East-Heron Park-Glebe Annex-Carleton University is pretty cumbersome. Maybe just go with Old Ottawa Ward? No, that’s pretty weird.
The new footbridge had been called by some the “Midtown Bridge” prior to its official naming, so Midtown Ward? That would actually make a lot of sense if anyone in the city ever called the general area “Midtown”.
We could go with “University Ward”. We have two! It’d be a nice pairing with College, but we don’t have the city’s oldest university, which is just beside our ward, so it might be a bit odd.
Bank is the most prominent street, but it stretches so far beyond Capital that it doesn’t really fit. Maybe an east-west street? Sunnyside Ward? That’s got a good ring to it, but I’m not sure it’s a sufficiently prominent street to warrant such a re-naming. Let’s put it in the maybes.
Riverdale Ward? Hey, I love Archie, too…
Okay, none of this is really doing it for me. What’s a key feature in our ward? The Lansdowne Ward? Might as well call it the OSEG Ward. It’ll be good up until another football team fails.
What about the canal? Could we go with “Canal Ward”? It’s definitely a defining feature in the ward, and certainly has a bunch more meaning to people than “Capital”.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, the Canal isn’t restricted to Capital Ward, and that’s fair…but Somerset Street stretches over into Rideau-Vanier, the old city of Gloucester included (parts of?) Beacon Hill-Cyrville, a number of wards have bays (or Bay Street) and River Ward isn’t the only ward with a river…hell, it doesn’t even have the Ottawa River in it.
Much of the most prominent areas of the canal are in Capital, including Dow’s Lake (no, we’re not calling it “Dow Ward”). Further, the canal goes through this ward, splitting the Glebe and Old Ottawa East, the Glebe and Old Ottawa South, and the Glebe Annex and Carleton University. It also serves as borders with River and Somerset, so those sections are sort of half in Capital.
So, yeah, that’s what we should do. “Capital Ward” is a dumb name that is both aggrandizing and diminishing, at the same time. Let’s change it.
Welcome to Canal Ward.