Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

The new toponymy policy of Sherbrooke is debated

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Women's names account for only 11% of street names attributed to people in Sherbrooke.


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Some elected officials from Sherbrooke have opposed to the adoption of the new toponymy policy which aims to prioritize women who have made history in the allocation of street names.

In Quebec, out of 50,000 toponyms recalling a person, only 11% designate a woman.

Volunteer with the Toponymy Committee of the City of Sherbrooke, David Lacoste admits that it is difficult to find a street corner with two names of women who represented the community of Sherbrooke.

The Éva-Sénécal library is the place he chose to meet our journalist. This is a place named in honor of this author, poet and journalist from Sherbrooke.

David Lacoste cites historical reasons to explain this discrepancy.

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If the woman was at home and the man in the public square, it is the man who was retained and who ends up with a name on the corner of x27;a street and not the woman in question.

A quote from David Lacoste, volunteer at the Toponymy Committee of the City of Sherbrooke

The City of Sherbrooke wishes to change this reality. This idea launched by Évelyne Beaudin when she was an advisor in 2019 sparked a heated debate. The idea, however, gained ground.

The new toponymy policy adopted by the City now aims to bridge this gap.

It’s a way of honoring our roots, our history. That’s why we, what we said, is that we should be proud in Sherbrooke that we want to close the gap for women, among others. , First Nations, cultural communities, explains municipal councilor Laure Letarte-Lavoie.

When this new toponymy policy was adopted, three elected women registered their dissent. This is the case of councilor Nancy Robichaud, who believes that prioritizing women was not the path to take.

There are men who have done great things, then why shouldn't they have the right? We agree that women's equality in street names is going to be a long time before that happens. For two years, fewer houses have been built, there are fewer openings of streets, argues Councilor Nancy Robichaud.

According to Gabriel Martin, who co-wrote a book on women and toponymy, closing the gap is essential for figures like Sylvie Daigle to pave the way for other women or for people from minorities.

Sometimes toponymy seems abstract. We wonder what this debate represents, but it has a concrete impact, on young girls, on women who will quietly say to themselves: I am taking a place in society. We work quietly on an imagination, illustrates the author.

Even if the policy adopted by the City is not unanimous, citizens should nevertheless expect to see more women's names appearing on the city's streets.

With information from Pierrick Pichette

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