The small Canadian city in the province of Quebec has about 7,000 residents and has now chosen a new name for the city. Asbestos got its name when it was located near the world’s largest asbestos mine.
The mine closed in 2011.
From magical minerals to life-threatening ones
Asbestos has long been considered a wonder mineral and has been used in construction and insulation, roofing, and as a fire retardant. It has been known for over 2000 years.
But the popularity of the mineral asbestos has not stood the test of time. The mineral has been banned from use in buildings in Norway since 1985 because it can cause serious illnesses such as cancer.
Canada has been among the slowest to ban the mineral and only did so in 2018.
Choose a new name
In front of BBC the city council acknowledged that the connotations had made it difficult for the city to attract foreign investment. Hence they decided last November to start a campaign to change their name.
On Monday, the city council unveiled the new name for the city, which lies 150 kilometers east of Montreal. Asbestos will henceforth be called Val-des-Sources.
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Residents of the city themselves must choose what name the city should be called and 51 percent wanted this name in the third and final round of voting.
Other names considered were Jeffrey-sur-le-Lac, Larochelle, Phénix and Trois-Lacs.
– The name especially will inspire for the future, said mayor Hugues Grimard according to the BBC.
Not everyone is equally pleased with the name change.
– I was born in Asbestos, and I want to die in Asbestos, a man shouted from his car to journalists from Canada CBC.
– It’s easy to forget that there was a time before people learned that asbestos was toxic, historian Jessica Van Horsen told CBC.
He said the city carried the name with pride for a long time. That is no longer the case and the town has been ridiculed from time to time, especially by the English-speaking part of the country.
The city of the future will start changing its city signs when the city has gone through the last formal legal steps for the change, presumably around Christmas time.
– It will be a good Christmas gift, said the mayor.
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