[dropcap]A[/dropcap]A recent post on a local community Facebook page has brought to light the sensitivity and importance of place names. They are undeniably part of our identity, sense of place and belonging as a community. While it is true that Richmond is the “legal” name of the village of Richmond the “village” roots run much deeper.
So Mattamy is calling their new development “Richmond Village”. For some reason I feel really annoyed about that.…local resident on Facebook
This post not only raised the interest and ire of a lot of local residents but some thoughtful comment as well.
Over a hundred comments flowed very quickly with many residents phoning the local sales office to lodge their concerns. Suggestions for alternate names for the new development were made along with the suggestion of holding a naming contest. (No word from Mattamy on any plans for a name change.)
The most serious concerns relate to the confusion that will be created by naming the new development Richmond Village and the sense that, whether intended or not, a form of corporate “identity theft” is underway on the heels of the village’s bicentennial. To understand this, one needs to consider that in the minds of the nearly 5000 residents of the village, “Richmond Village” is the much loved and de facto name applied on a daily basis to the community as a whole.
You need look no further than the incorporated name of the community association, Richmond Village Association Inc., to get a sense of the importance of the name as a descriptor of the community as a whole. Local businesses serving the community such as the Richmond Village Pharmacy, Richmond Village Eye Care and Richmond Village Dental and many events carry the Richmond Village moniker as well … you get the picture.
Notwithstanding the fact the “legal” name of the community is Richmond this is one of those instances where the de facto name “Richmond Village” is in common use. Most residents who have spoken out feel that should be respected by Mattamy Homes and the City.
As a resident so clearly stated:
I could not see how the City would allow Richmond Village be used to describe a section of Richmond Village. It would be like naming a development in Kanata … Kanata. Someone at Mattamy definitely out of touch with the area that they (are) building in and the significance of the name to the whole of Richmond.a concerned resident on FB
On another note, existing residents of Richmond want to be welcoming to any new residents. In this vein, concerns were expressed that controversy over names isn’t a good thing when it could so easily be avoided. The existing residents of Richmond Village today are not likely to stop using the historic name … the question of who is on first, who is on third will likely come up needlessly as a potential point of friction in the future community.
Residents recognize the need to grow and are looking to new developments to sell the “village” and all it has to offer. They simply want it done in a way that is respectful to the long history of the village. They don’t want the village to become just another sprawling suburb with no sense of community or history.
The Village was founded over 200 years ago and was first incorporated as a “village” in 1850 with the passage of the Municipal Act. Let’s hope that the folks at Mattamy listen to the calls they have been getting and take the appropriate steps to respect the application of the name Richmond Village to the larger community. In the end, the buyers of homes by Mattamy within Richmond Village will be our new neighbours who, like us, will want to learn about and share in the rich history of Richmond Village.
If you wish to share your views with Mattamy about the proposed name of “Richmond Village” for the development, residents have been contacting Mattamy’s sales office at 613-831-4115.