RADIA: Street names good way to remember veterans

FACE TO FACE: Should Port Moody rename Hope Street as Veterans Way?

An intrepid resident of Port Moody has an idea that I think we should all get behind.

As reported last week in The Tri-City News, historian Guy Black, well known for his efforts to honour Canadian soldiers, wants part of Hope Street to be renamed Veterans Way to commemorate those men and women in uniform who have defended and continue to defend our interests and values abroad.

What a tremendous concept.

My colleague opposite seems to think that it’s enough that we have a war monument in Ottawa and put aside one day of the year — Remembrance Day — when we pay tribute to our soldiers.

But that is clearly not enough. We need to do more to ensure that future generations never forget our veterans’ sacrifices.

I’d even take Mr. Black’s idea a step further. Let’s name some streets after some of Canada’s most storied war efforts: Vimy Ridge Way, Juno Beach Avenue or Kandahar Street. How about naming some streets after our war heroes?

How great would it be to drive down Smokey Smith Street in Port Moody and have little Andy or Jimmy ask who Smokey Smith was.

I don’t think Mr. Black’s request is anything out of the ordinary; we already have streets and places in the Tri-Cities named after historical figures.

I used to live on Pare Court in Coquitlam, which was named after Tony Pare, who was Maillardville’s first police and fire chief.

In Port Coquitlam, we have the Traboulay PoCo Trail, which is named after Len Traboulay, the legendary figure who served as the city’s mayor from 1981 to 2000.

These types of commemorations can enhance our sense of community and keep us connected to our roots.

Besides, naming roads after significant people or events is more meaningful than naming roads after trees or geography.

How boring is Pinetree Way or Pitt River Road?

I am not suggesting we rewrite the maps all at once — that’s clearly not efficient — but how about a veteran-type street name per council term or just for new developments or landmarks?

And Jim, maybe next week we can debate my petition to rename the Port Mann Bridge as the Gordon Campbell Bridge?

Before my colleague opposite has a conniption, I’m only kidding… sort of.

Andy Radia is a Coquitlam resident and political columnist who writes for Yahoo! Canada News and Vancouver View Magazine. He has been politically active in the Tri-Cities, having been involved with election campaigns at all three levels of government, including running for Coquitlam city council in 2005.


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