A Town in Canada Called Asbestos Wants a New Name

A Town in Canada Called Asbestos Wants a New Name

A town in Canada is looking for a fresh image — and, especially, a new name.
The town of Asbestos, located in Quebec, used to be known for its mining of the mineral that has been linked to cancer cases but only recently stopped operations. Now, according to Bloomberg, the town is moving on from its old reputation by choosing a new name.

In October, residents of Asbestos will be able to vote on a new town name. The town council narrowed the thousands of suggestions down to just four: Apalone, Phénix, Trois-Lacs, and Jeffrey.
While the name Jeffrey sounds a bit odd, it’s not in honor of some guy named Jeff. The name is actually a reference to the nearby Jeffrey mine, which opened in 1879 and stopped mining the deadly material in 2011, according to The Globe and Mail. The mine itself was named for the surname of its first operator, according to Bloomberg.
Similarly, other suggestions are references to other aspects of the town. Apalone is in honor of a turtle species that is native to North America, and Trois-Lacs refers to a specific neighborhood in the town, Bloomberg reported.
On the other hand, one suggestion is more thematic, and less of a reference for the local area. Phénix means Phoenix in French, in honor of a legendary firebird that regenerates and “rises from the ashes” of its former self, so to speak. A fitting moniker for a town that wishes to be, in many ways, reborn.
Even though Asbestos reminds English speakers of the carcinogen, it has no meaning in French, according to Bloomberg, so townspeople are still divided on the decision for the new name. “It’s an important decision that sparked a lot of emotion,” said Mayor Hugues Grimard to Bloomberg, adding that the name change will ultimately benefit the town.
Residents who are over the age of 14 will be allowed to vote for the new name between Oct. 14 and 18, Bloomberg reported. Whatever the decision, we can say goodbye to Asbestos forever.
Another town, this time in the U.S., has also loosely proposed a name change. Residents of Columbus, Ohio, have expressed interest in renaming the town in order to disassociate itself from its namesake Christopher Columbus. Their suggestion: Flavortown. Suddenly, Jeffrey seems like a pretty good alternative town name.

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