There has been much public debate recently about monuments and the naming of said monuments. I would like to focus on the names of Metro Stations in my city of Montreal. Today is International Women's Day, and it's 2018 y'all, so why are no Metro stations named after a woman?
Almost a year ago, I was walking through Metro station Place-des-arts and saw an exhibition up along the upper mezzanine platform. It was a series of photos illustrating 28 people whose namesake was used for metro stations in Montreal. "Hmm, interesting", I thought, as I read some of the bio's. Some were names I had never realized were the names of people. It was an initiation by La fondation Lionel-Groulx (see the online version here) and part of the Montreal 375 hullabaloo.
As I kept reading, it became clear that these were only men. Of the 28 stations that are named after "prominent" people, there were no women. Ok I thought... maybe they get a pass because these stations were named in the '60's, so we can chalk it up to the obvious sexism at the time. But what about the 3 recent stations?? Montmorency, Cartier and De la Concorde? Could they not have found a single influential women in Montreal or Quebec history to name it after?
With very little research, I found some pretty good options:
How about Les filles du roi? Without those brave souls, the population of New France would not have prospered.
Henrietta Edwards, a women's rights activist, one of the Famous Five, who was born in Montreal and fought for women's right to vote.
And for a more recent figure, have you seen Michaëlle Jean's bio?? There's too much to even list in a bullet point. She continues to inspire me.
Now, I could certainly come up with more names. But for now, I'd rather hear from you!
Who would you choose to name a metro station after? I have chosen to focus on women, because I am a woman and I'm especially interested in the presence of women in public space. But there are certainly other omissions of race, religion and class.
Let's open up the conversation. The next time something significant needs to be named, I'd like to have a solid short-list READY to pass on the STM and The City of Montreal. Leave your ideas in the comments!