Asbestos’s name isn’t its only problem — there’s also the gigantic mine – by Colby Cosh (National Post – September 23, 2020)

There is no shortage of horror stories about international reactions to the name of Asbestos, Quebec, although these mostly take the form of folklore.

At this point in history, I’m pretty sure the town of Asbestos in Quebec is more famous for trying unsuccessfully to change its name than it is for being the location of a gigantic asbestos mine.

In November, the Asbestos town council voted to commence the name change that local businessmen and entrepreneurs had wanted since the turn of the century, although mere citizens weren’t so keen.

Other regional institutions had been lightning-quick to drop allusions to asbestos or the French word, “amiante.” But the people of Asbestos, proud of their heritage and of a nice town that asbestos had paid for, could always be counted on to snarl at or deride the suggestion that their name was a problem.

The official name change discussions were intended to culminate in a sort of consultative referendum with a transferrable ballot. Four alternative names for the town, whose asbestos megamine was closed in 2011, were picked out and published Sept. 14.

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