Okay, peeps, chill!
That Katz guy just renamed a couple of buildings in Downtown Edmonton (as he has every right to do), he didn’t rename Downtown. This is like when Edmonton Centre (a stupid name) and Eaton’s Centre (a stupid name after Eaton’s went belly up) got a snappy new pedway connecting them and some suit said “let’s call the two buildings Edmonton City Centre!” Nobody calls it that. Some call it “City Centre Mall” and some call it just “City Centre”. Or like when the Coliseum got renamed “Skyreach Place” or “Rexall Place” or . . . . No one is at all confused if you say “meet me at the Coliseum.” And after 37 years of name changes to the arena, that LRT station that serves the place is still called “Coliseum”.
Out of convenience we’ve been calling a vague area around the under-construction arena “the arena district” for a little while. I expect when it’s all done and the “Ice District” signs go up, we’ll all call it whatever seems convenient. I imagine people will say,
“Let’s go Downtown to the arena.”
“Where should we meet?”
“At the Cineplex” or “In the Winter Garden by the Janvier mosaic” or at the front door of Stantec” or “with all the other White people in that video”.
Some time ago the City put up “Arts District” signs around Churchill Square. Has anyone EVER said “let’s meet in the Arts District Friday night!” Of course not! It’s a silly, artificial thing and it’s properly ignored. People meet in Churchill Square or at City Hall, or the Library or at City Centre Mall.
I really don’t find this little corporate naming-rights moment of any great concern. The fact that the promo video is all “White People only unless you’re the DJ”, however, is troublesome. It would be nice if our collective #yegSpleen were being vented over that bit of corporate propaganda rather than over the naming-yawn that is “Ice District.”
Personally, I’m gonna call that bit of Downtown Edmonton with that hockey rink beside the new Alex Janvier mosaic “Iron Foot Place”, “Tsątsąke k’e” because it was Treaty Six land before the NHL and before Katz and it still is Treaty Six Land and “Iron Foot Place” is a damn better name than “The Arena District” or the articleless “Ice District.
I hope Mayor Iveson and Edmonton City Council can come up with a way to make the official City neighbourhood placename of that bit of Downtown “Iron Foot Place”, whatever the corporate brand on the buildings. It would be an easy gesture toward Reconciliation and a good description of a place devoted to strapping steel blades to our feet. But even if it’s never the official name . . .
Let’s meet at Iron Foot Place.
Who’s with me on this?