If you’ve ever travelled, been asked where you’re from, and answered “I’m from Halifax,” then you are a liar.
Like Santa Claus and Stephen Harper’s soul, “Halifax” does not exist. Instead we live in the 12-syllabled linguistic atrocity known as Halifax Regional Municipality.
The moniker was initially an “interim” name made up by a bureaucrat during amalgamation in the 1990s. Council was supposed to pick a permanent name later.
Now, if you were born with an unfortunate name like Ronald G. Fugglepants, you’d probably change it. Yet HRM never got around to doing that. The problem is councillors are notoriously territorial and couldn’t agree.
We couldn’t go with something simple like Halifax because some people in Dartmouth, Sackville, Bedford, etc. got all up in arms.
“I don’t live in Halifax! I live in Dartmouth!” Coun. Gloria McCluskey belted out at one council meeting.
Yeah, except Dartmouth is part of a larger thing and that needs a name, too. Every other large city has this issue, but they don’t go around calling themselves Toronto Metropolitan Conglomerate, or London Interurban Megalopolis.
Calling it Halifax won’t make Dartmouth, Sackville, et. al. disappear.
And Halifax is such a great name. Its soft consonants roll off the tongue up until the jazzy twist ending of an x. Nice. On the other hand, Halifax Regional Municipality sounds like the verbal equivalent of flushing a cat down a toilet.
To be fair, switching over has its downsides. The name change is estimated to cost a million dollars. That seems expensive, but think of it this way — the price would be spread out over several years, and the longer we hold off, the pricier it will get.
So if we want to stick with this name forever then fine, let’s all bask in our bureaucratic gibberish homeland. But if we want our city to some day have a respectable name, we should get on it sooner rather than later.
Paul McLeod is a staff reporter at Metro Halifax. He is currently in rehab for being a political junkie. It’s going badly.