Charlie Teljeur: Put the Haliburton back in Dysart
|By Charlie Teljeur - Contributing Writer | November 2, 2017|
In recent months, both Algonquin Highlands and Minden Hills have changed the title of their head of council from reeve to mayor. I wholeheartedly agree with both the name change and the reasoning behind it. The term reeve often caused confusion when introductions were necessary, especially when it was with other reeves, er mayors, who held a similar position. I would think that having the title of reeve in a lot of non-local public situations would be like arriving at the party with your arm in a sling. Rest assured someone is going to eventually ask about the cast and, in this case, someone is going to ask what a reeve is. If you have to explain your title, the title really isn’t working. I applaud those who made this change possible – it’s not easy to literally change history and while change is indeed in the air (think: autumn leaves) I would like to suggest another name change.
This one is certainly a little more radical and will definitely face far more resistance than the reeve to mayor movement but I think it’s not only long overdue but infinitely logical as well. Ready? Simple. Let’s lose the Dysart et al title and simply change that area’s name to what everyone calls it already: Haliburton.
Ironically a good number of the people reading this column right now aren’t aware that Dysart et al is the legal name of the place we (almost) all call Haliburton.
So let’s start rationalizing this. There will be those who will argue that a name is just a name is just a name. It’s the meaning of title that’s important, but if no one knows what the word means what’s the point of keeping it? The name is traditional, yes, but easy to translate? Not a chance. What’s an et al anyways?
I know the main argument is based on tradition. I’m the first one to defend tradition but things change. People change. Names change. And if you think it’s difficult to explain what a reeve is, just try to explain to someone that Haliburton and Dysart et al are essentially the same place. Trust me. I have. Doing research for the hockey documentary I was trying to build the argument for just how small Haliburton is and I needed to compare municipal statistics from various hockey mad areas across Canada. When people tried to vet the stats they kept getting tripped up by the name Dysart et al and to be honest, I kind of felt like it was diluting my argument.
If we really need the impetus to make a name change happen the strongest argument is still simply that’s what people call us. People don’t do travel searches for Dysart et al. People don’t think of moving to Dysart et al and they don’t refer their friends to Dysart et al, and keeping it in the equation isn’t just a detriment but it’s a hindrance. It creates an unnecessary need to translate that’s frankly outlived its relevance. The best decisions are based on weighing the positives against the negatives and for me, this is a really positive step for the area.
Charlie Teljeur is a contributing writer for The Highlander.