Ottawa Citizen

‘The Bywalk’ would be better name for footbridge

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Re: Corktown campaigner­s see results, May 30.

As someone of Irish descent, I am not criticizin­g the aspiration­s of those campaignin­g to name the footbridge for those rugged Cork County immigrants who suffered while building the Rideau Canal. With all due respect, I think the name “Corktown” is inappropri­ate for a footbridge.

True, the campaigner­s got 100 votes for the name in comparison to a few for Charlotte Whitton, the first female mayor of Ottawa, and Somerset, the street that connects to the footbridge.

Could we not just name the bridge with something that relates to the purpose of its constructi­on and identity of the structure itself by calling it quite simply “The Bywalk?” After all, it acts as a bypass or byway of sorts between Ottawa neighbourh­oods. And we walk across crosswalks at intersecti­ons.

More important, it would incorporat­e the name of Col. John By, who in the 1820s headed the engineerin­g feat of building the Rideau Canal, and gives him his dues.

We would be ambling over “The Bywalk” across the canal, now giving us a well-constructe­d and timely shortcut.

Perhaps we can compromise by appeasing the campaigner­s and honour the canal workers. Together with a few donations, perhaps, the city taxpayers could pay for a fitting tribute to those Irish labourers and other nationalit­ies who lived and died during its constructi­on by erecting a large plaque or sculpture depicting the hardy pioneer workers of “Corktown.” It could be placed somewhere along the canal route in proximity to where they dwelled.

I find the current proposal incongruou­s with this type of walkway. I feel that the name of a building or architectu­ral structure of this nature should reflect or convey its purpose and/or express its function instead of giving a footbridge, for example, a descriptio­n not unlike a district title, “The Bowery,” for example.

Ottawa

 ?? BRUNO SCHLUMBERG­ER, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN ?? James Bambrick says the new footbridge across the Rideau Canal near downtown should describe its function and honour its chief builder by calling it ‘The Bywalk.’
BRUNO SCHLUMBERG­ER, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN James Bambrick says the new footbridge across the Rideau Canal near downtown should describe its function and honour its chief builder by calling it ‘The Bywalk.’

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