Montreal

Champlain Bridge will not be renamed, Denis Lebel says

A bridge by any other name would transport passengers between Montreal and the South Shore just as easily — but alas, after much ado, the Champlain Bridge will remain the Champlain Bridge.

After some consideration, Infrastructure Minister says Samuel de Champlain will remain bridge's namesake

The new Champlain Bridge will span the Saint Lawrence River in one long stretch. (Infrastructure Canada)

A bridge by any other name would transport passengers between Montreal and the South Shore just as easily — but alas, after much ado, the Champlain Bridge will remain the Champlain Bridge.

Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel announced his decision in an open letter published in La Presse on Saturday.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel says the new bridge will keep Samuel de Champlain's name. (CBC)

Lebel wrote that he has every intention of keeping the bridge named after Samuel de Champlain — the "father of New France" — rather than change it to honour the late, great Maurice Richard once the new bridge is built in 2018.

Lebel wrote that the controversy over renaming the bridge after Richard did not originate with a government source.

Earlier this month, the possibility of renaming the bridge sparked outcry among historians and lovers of Quebec history and culture.

In his letter, Lebel wrote passionately of Richard and the love Quebecers have for The Rocket.

Still, he said, Champlain is a historic figure and deserves to remain the namesake of the new bridge.

The existing Champlain Bridge structure has fallen on hard times, with cracks and even holes developing in the concrete. 

A year ago, a "superbeam" was installed on the bridge to help support a cracked girder in a section of the span’s underside.

Last year, Lebel announced the new bridge would be completed sooner than expected — in 2018.

With files from La Presse Canadienne

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