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Long Reach name change a 50-year-old plea

George Carver column Ontario Intelligencer
(Click to enlarge) John Lyons shares this December 1961 column by George H. Carver, sports editor at the Ontario Intelligencer. “Almost 50 years later, this column is so emotionally evocative, that it will bring tears to your eyes,” said Lyons. “No wonder this suggestion got so much support from the public and from local governments. I have read a few other columns by George Carver and he certainly had a flair for writing.”

By Ross Lees
Prince Edward County council revived a 50-year old motion to rename Long Reach during Tuesday’s council meeting.
John Lyons, of Picton, asked council to begin proceedings to rename Long Reach to ‘Hayward Long Reach’ honouring Robert (Bob) Hayward, a speedboat racer who piloted Miss Supertest III to three consecutive victories over American competition in the Harmsworth Trophy competition.
People in Prince Edward County can be forgiven for thinking the Reach was already named Hayward Long Reach since Picton council thought they did just that back in January of 1962. But despite the fact that council passed a motion, the official change never took place and maps continue to show the reach as Long Reach.
Lyons has enlisted the help of the Central Ontario Geographic Names board and the Ministry of Natural Resources to begin the name change process by as early as May 1, when support from the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government must weigh in on this matter if it is to be considered by Linda Jeffery, Minister of Natural Resources.
Lyons said the process would normally take place in a confidential manner, a process that was impossible at present because of the quick time line involved.
“We have a chance to do something rare,” Lyons told council. “We can correct a 50-year-old wrong and honour a man who is truly a Canadian hero.”
Lyons received immediate support from councillor Terry Shortt, who recalled as a boy watching a helicopter land near the Reach at one of the races and  dignitaries from all levels of government including Mayor Harvey MacFarland getting off to watch the race. Shortt said he felt Miss Supertest III and her driver were to Prince Edward County what the Bluenose is to Nova Scotia.
“This is the proper thing to do,” Shortt said.
It was a motion which required little discussion as it was passed quickly by council and will now be forwarded to the appropriate officials by email to meet the May 1 deadline.
Councils in Lennox and Addington, Deseronto and Napanee are preparing similar motions and provincial and federal representatives are also expected to lend their support, with the goal to have the name officially changed on the August long weekend of this year if possible.
Lyons told council the newest request was being fast-tracked and was being viewed as a “reapplication” from the original application in 1962.

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  1. Steve Staniek says:

    Here’s the reality of political grandstanding like the grand gesture of renaming a historic site without obtaining the informed consent of the people most affected.
    A few years ago in a very affluent city at the western end of Lake Ontario, the Mayor and many art supporters decided to expand the local art centre to accommodate the original works of a well known Canadian visual artist with a large international following. One could say it was a quasi heritage initiative. Promoters had already drawn up architectural plans and raised a fair bit of money to build him a state of the art gallery of national stature, but it meant sacrificing a neighbourhood park. A survey in the park neighbourhood showed that 93% of the residents flatly rejected the planned expansion, despite the fact that many of them liked the artist and admired his work. When the artist learned that city greenspace would be destroyed to accommodate his artworks he was forced to back out of the deal. That year he was given the Order of Canada, based partly on his reputation as a spokesman for the environmental conservation of green space, and this kind of bad press was not very conducive to national honours.

  2. Steve Staniek says:

    I get that trumping older heritage names with newer heritage names is wrong because it sacrifices one to promote or commemorate another. That defeats the whole purpose of heritage preservation. When you rename something you change the name, and a new name is never the same as the old name. Even if the old name is buried in the new name, like a compound name, it’s gone forever. There are other, better ways to honour a sports hero. Buy some land and create a park somewhere on the Long Reach.

  3. Capt Chris Holder says:

    I don’t think Mr Staniek gets it. Heritage is being preserved. Heritage isn’t just what UEL’s did. Heritage is yesterday last week last year. It is continueous. Bob Hayward is part of our heritage.

  4. Steve Staniek says:

    The historic waterway, the Long Reach of the Bay of Quinte was named by the United Empire Loyalists and their descendants. In the 60s many ambitious politicians and newspapermen rode the wave of modernization, and called for “out with old, and in with the new”. They ignorantly destroyed so many heritage assets in their drive to modernize that the people of Ontario finally pushed their government to provide legal protection of historic sites and the Ontario Heritage Act was born. Renaming the Long Reach to the Hayward Long Reach is historically wrong, and doing it “in confidence”, without the informed consent of the people who live on the Reach is even more wrong. We’ve been given an opportunity to right the heritage wrongs of the 60s, and we should try to do so to save historic place names like the Long Reach.
    As a boat builder and boat lover, I enjoy the legend of Miss Supertest III, but not at the cost of a historic asset. There are many other, better ways to honour sports heroes without destroying our historic heritage in the County.

    Steve Staniek, Heritage Preservationist

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