Why I Can’t Wait To Hop On The Energy Line
Last week, the City’s Naming Committee released its choices for what to call the city’s LRT lines as the system is fully built out over the next few decades, and according to at least one article on CBC.ca—as well as a few other comments I’ve seen in social media—the Naming Committee has slighted Edmonton in a way not seen since the last time a Calgarian said something mean about us in public.
The specific criticism of the names—the Capital Line, Metro Line, Valley Line, Festival Line, and Energy Line—at least according to the CBC post, is that they’re bland.
I’ve seen some people say that the names don’t mean anything, and others have suggested that the names might cause confusion to citizens and visitors alike.
I couldn’t disagree more. The line names are fine.
Sure, they aren’t going to blow anyone’s socks off, but let’s remember: these are the names of what are basically roads made out of rail that a train travels upon. It’s not like we’re naming the first ever space train or anything. This is a piece of public infrastructure; something too flashy or too plain evokes the dreaded “Lame!” expression from citizens.
A brief look at how other major Canadian cities have named their subway lines reveals a global lack of originality, so we’re basically on par with our Canadian brethren in our blandness:
- Calgary’s C-Train routes are called the Red Line and the Blue Line. Mind-blowing.
- Vancouver’s SkyTrain lines are called the Expo Line, Canada Line and Millennium Line. Innovative.
- Montreal’s Metro lines are called Orange, Green, Blue and Yellow Lines. Désolé!
- Toronto’s TTC lines are colour-coded as well, but named for places: Yonge-Univeristy-Spadina; Bloor-Danforth; Scarborough RT; and Sheppard. Local-tastic.
The naming of subway lines does not present an opportunity for Edmonton to be on the leading edge. It presents an opportunity for Edmonton to provide citizens and visitors with a common way-finding language so we all know what the fuck we’re talking about when we ride the LRT.
Honestly, a part of me is just glad we didn’t name these lines after all the centremen on the 1989–90 Stanley Cup Champion Oilers—the Messier Line, the Lamb Line, the Murphy Line, the MacTavish Line, and the Ruzicka Line.
The LRT is a future-focused project that will help move people through this city much more easily. The naming committee has done its job to ensure we know what we can call our new train system. And if placenames like the Universiade Pavilion—also known as the Butterdome—is any indication, Edmontonians will give these new line names their own spin, once they’ve gotten to know them better.
Adam Rozenhart podcasts at The Unknown Studio, founded the wildly successful hockey blog OilersNation.com, and works as a digital-marketing suit. He loves the City of Edmonton, and sharing its untold stories. He has a weakness for animals, music of all kinds, and technology.