Tuesday, November 4, 2014

While we're at it, how about Pont Big Bird?

   With all due respect to the father of New France, I'm completely on board with the notion of re-naming the new Champlain Bridge after Montreal Canadiens legend Maurice "Rocket" Richard.  
   The Rocket was more than a hockey star.  He was and remains a cultural icon.  An entire generation of put-upon Quebec francophones lived vicariously through Richard, whose athletic dominance and unbending will were celebrated as symbolic defiance against the English-Canadian establishment. The Richard Riot in 1955 was a seminal moment in Quebec history, and was as much a political uprising as it was a protest against Richard's suspension for punching a linesman.  Richard's profound impact reasserted itself 36 years after his retirement when he received an astonishingly sustained standing ovation before the final game at the Montreal Forum in 1996.
   None of this denigrates Samuel de Champlain's stature, and I can appreciate the sentiments of historians and other traditionalists who oppose changing the bridge name to honor a hockey player over a founding father.  I even understand PQ MNA and leadership hopeful Jean-Francois Lisée's argument that if any bridge should be renamed, it's the Victoria Bridge.  I'm with Lisée.  Enough with honoring a long-dead British monarch and symbol of English colonialism.  
   Pont Larry Robinson has a wonderful ring to it.

1 comment:

  1. they should have renamed Serge Marcil bridge. I asked my French speaking friends no one has an idea who that person was. Also, this bridge is not even mentioned in the wiki article about Montreal bridges. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bridges_to_the_Island_of_Montreal As for renaming Victoria bridge, the arrogant politics would have asked Bill Gates first. As the bridge belongs to CN and he is the biggest shareholder of the company. I wish them good luck in that.

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