Union Station could be renamed “John A. Macdonald Station”
When Torontonians think of the city’s main railway hub, they think Union Station—a landmark that has retained its name since 1858, despite two complete rebuilds. Except now, councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong thinks it’s time for a change. At today’s meeting of city council’s executive committee, he persuaded his fellow politicians to take a preliminary step towards renaming the historic station after John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister. It would be John A. Macdonald Station.
“[Macdonald’s] association with nation building and Canada is clear and unassailable,” Minnan-Wong notes in a letter to the committee. Today’s decision sets in motion a process that could bring about the renaming as soon as July, though city council would have to vote on the idea first.
It’s true that Macdonald has some Toronto cred. He lived here during the mid-1850s, when the city served as the capital of the United Provinces of Canada. His family home was in a boarding house on Wellington Street near Portland, then the western edge of town. While his political fortunes rose during this period (he was appointed co-premier in 1856), his personal life was affected by his wife Isabella’s chronic illness. As prime minister, Macdonald supported the creation of a Toronto daily newspaper owned by the Conservative party, the Empire, in 1887.
While Minnan-Wong’s proposal appears to have the support of deputy mayor Norm Kelly, much of the reaction online has been negative. Commemorative renaming tends to be a minefield. In defence of the proposal, Minnan-Wong’s Twitter feed listed off two dozen other Union Stations across North America, as if to point out that Toronto needs to stand out.
If this manages to slip through city council, the name could have an even harder time catching on than “Rogers Centre” did. As councillor Adam Vaughan put it, “Union Station is Union Station.”
Let us know what you think, below.
6 thoughts on “Union Station could be renamed “John A. Macdonald Station””
I propose calling it Canada Station. Or, at least, calling the under-construction plaza in front of Union Station to be called Canada Plaza.
I still think that the “Rogers Centre” is “Skydome”. It’ll be the same with “John A. MacDonald Station”, it’ll be “Union Station” to me.
Based on costs associated with similar exercises, the city will spend several million on the name change. This includes the expense of required, deferred and optional rebranding; new and modified signage, pamphlets, and schedules; updates/changes to all related websites including travel and tourism.
The name will probably become too long for marketing effectiveness. The change will likely not have a profound impact on the city’s attitude about itself.
Perhaps giving the name “The Sir John A. Macdonald” to one of the Trans-Canada Via Rail trains may be a better way to honour man who led the government that united the country by building the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Perhaps Denzil Minnan-Wong should try the emulate the work of the definitive Father of Confederation and focus his energies on a better transit system for Toronto.
If a politician’s goal is to represent the will of the people, then the outcome of this Toronto Life poll should give Minnan-wong his marching orders.
I would imagine Union Station is a heritage building of historical significance. The name of the building is engraved very clearly into the facade and should remain. Agree with comment about honouring JAM with a train named after him. From a marketing perspective, people won’t say the name and it will remain Union or, horrors, JAM Station.
sir john a mcdonald, an immigrant drunk from a distant foreign land, who came to these
shores of North America and tried to wipe out the native peoples of this Great
Land by creating policies of mass starvation which fostered the spread of
communicable diseases like smallpox and tuberculosis, and created specific
legislation designed to wipe out a race of people and their cultures and
languages: Canada’s abominable Indian Act… which is still Canadian law
today…. and the oppression continues today a step further with the creation
of harper’s omnibus bills that touched off the IdleNoMore demonstrations. mcdonald authorized the creation of many of those cursed residential schools in western canada where countless children endured all manner of abuse and thousands perished. Hitler got his idea for concentration camps from mcdonald’s indian reserve segregation system.
After this white supremacist? No thank you.
Comments are closed.