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Lake Named for Jonathan Toews Stirs Controversy

As The Deep Dish reported about 10 days ago, the Canadian Province of Manitoba has named a lake after Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. While many found this honor to be either exciting or strange, the Vancouver Sun reports that one mother of a fallen soldier in Manitoba found it rather disturbing. According to Dwight MacAulay, chief of protocol for the government of Manitoba:

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While most Manitoba lakes are named for war casualties, the tribute to Toews is not unheard of.

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Virtually all of our lakes are named after casualties of war from the Province of Manitoba, from World War I through the Afghan War. The premier has the discretion to also name lakes for other people. There are very few living people that have lakes named after them. The Province of Manitoba, in 2002, had Queen Elizabeth visit and we named lakes after each six of her grandchildren. And now we’re naming one for Jonathan.

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Taking exception to this honor was Shirley Seggie, who found this announcement an insult to the memory of her son and called it a “travesty.”

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According to the article, Manitoba has a program called the Commemorative Names Project. It is dedicated to naming geographic features after fallen soldiers. Seggie’s son is one of the five soldies who will be honored in November.

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Some of the controversy stems from the naming of the lake for Toews, some from those who say there is a mandated three-year waiting period before lakes can be named for people. But Manitoba has a history of not “going by the book.” In 2002, Queen Elizabeth named six of the lakes after her grandchildren as part of a golden jubilee tour.

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There is a divide between those who think the honor is unjust and those who think the honor is well deserved.

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It should be noted that there are approximately 100,000 lakes in Manitoba.