As the development of the Ottawa Light Rail network continues the transit commission continues to make decisions about details of the Confederation Line. One of these decisions is the renaming of the LeBreton Transitway Station to Pimisi Station. This name, meaning eel in Algonquin, is supposed to pay tribute to the Algonquin tribe who once inhabited the area and relied on the now endangered eel for sustenance.
Unfortunately the name Pimisi is a terrible idea on the part of the city transit commission for many reasons, none of which are considered when guilt-driven pity decisions are made by governmental organization in Canada on issues relating to native Indians.
Though Pimisi might be a perfectly fine name for some new transit station it is a terrible way to re-name an existing station like LeBreton. Named after Captain John LeBreton, one of the founding logging barons in the Ottawa area, the LeBreton Flats which back onto the Ottawa river (the waterway which brought LeBreton prosperity) and the contained LeBreton Station are now synonymous with the area, a change to which would spell confusion for many. When you look at the two possible name there really isn’t any historical reason why either couldn’t be the station name other than LeBreton was chosen as the name. With that being the case there is no logical geographical or navigational reason to change the name, and one can only imagine the confusion it will cause not only amongst locals but the millions of visitors to the capital each year.
I have nothing against naming a station in honor of the native Indians from the Ottawa area but doing so without considering the effects on the simplicity, continuity, and current naming scheme of our cities transit system is a grave error.
Unfortunately there is little hope for reversal in the name change now as any discussion would be considered an attack on native Indians and their culture rather than a rational question about an illogical station name.