The owners of Moulin 7, a microbrewery in Asbestos, Que., are not embarrassed by the name of their town. In fact, the pub, run by high-school friends Yan St-Hilaire and Danick Pellerin, is downright asbestos-themed.
The beer selection includes White Gold, a nickname from the mineral’s heyday. A photo of the gaping Jeffrey Mine hangs behind the bar. The pair once even made a batch of suds from the bright blue water that started to fill the pit once operations stopped nearly a decade ago. (They tested it; it was asbestos-free.)
But despite their defiant pride in the town’s past, they are among the residents who support its rechristening. The brewers are about to get their wish.
After years of debate, the local council will release results of a five-day popular vote on a replacement name Monday evening, taking a major step toward cutting ties with a toxic word.
The decision may seem obvious but as the ambivalence of Moulin 7 suggests, it has been agonizing to arrive at and still has opponents. For more than a century, local workers extracted one of the world’s leading supplies of chrysotile asbestos, whose cottony fibres were widely used in insulation and fireproofing, until it became clear they cause cancer.
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