By Melanie Scott
At its Feb. 17 meeting, La Pêche council made it official: residents of the area will be known henceforth as Les Pêchoises (singular: La Pêchois/La Pêchoise). A very elegant moniker indeed.
Some may shun the idea of labels, but being able to lay claim to your home region via an appropriate title somehow provides comfort. Just think of Parisians, Berliners, Londoners, Genevois, and Romans. Lovely labels all.
Now that La Pêche has it nailed down, one wonders if the regions that share its territory in the Hills will have name envy. There are many, and most councillors probably have other things – such as road maintenance and water management – on their minds. So in the interest of looking towards a future when one and all can state their title based on where they live, we offer a few suggestions.
Pontiac: Sharing the stage with an iconic car can’t be easy. But the region was around long before General Motors swiped the name. Maybe it’s time it gained fame as a place, upstaging the horseless carriage that has nothing to do with its origins in Anishinabe history. Choices might include Pontiacers (which would inevitably be pronounced like ‘pacers’ by outsiders, so scratch that) and Pontiacites (sounds too much like an illness that flew on the wings of a chicken). So how about ‘Ponties’? Short, snappy, memorable.
Chelsea: Yet another place that has to share the stage, this time with the chic neighbourhood in London that gave birth to an artists’ colony (no artist could afford to live there now). Chelchith, as it was known by the ancients, derived from the Anglo Saxon term Cealc-hyð: a landing place for chalk or limestone. What to call them? Chelseaites feels like something out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, or maybe the spikes that grow downwards from the ceilings of caves. Chelseaers seems like it could belong in a legal writ. ‘Chelsies’ – now, there’s an option. Positively adorable.
Cantley: Type it into Google and the first thing that pops up is the municipal web site – which means that our Cantley is now more famous than their Cantley (i.e. a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk). Cantleyites … no, just wrong. Cantleyers? Sounds like it has something to do with engineering or tool and dye making. Let’s hear it for ‘Cantleans’.
Val-des-Monts: This is a tough one. As one of the Hills’ younger municipalities – it was formed in 1975 through a merger of three villages – Val-des-Monts doesn’t seem to lend itself to the task. Val-des-Monties might have something to do with an international fruit conglomerate. Val-des-Montites sounds like it could be a ruined castle in the South of France. Monties is just too close to the name used by our men in red. ‘Val-monters’: positively sophisticated, and rolls beautifully off the tongue.
Have other suggestions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.