LONGUEUIL – “Everybody would love to go skating at the new Jean-Béliveau Park,” said Daniel Crevier, who started an online petition to revert the recent name change to his street.
Thing is, Jean-Béliveau Park does not exist. But Crevier says it might be a better way to honour the former hockey player’s memory, one that wouldn’t see his street’s name changed.
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“Changing the name of the street is a bad idea,” Crevier said. “Not that we have anything against Mr. Beliveau himself, understand that.”
About a month ago, the city renamed Longueuil’s Victoria Street “Jean-Béliveau” to honour the memory of the beloved former Habs star and longtime resident of the street.
READ MORE: Longueuil renames street after hockey great Jean Béliveau
But Crevier says this move denies the street’s historical meaning and he’s started an online petition to revert the name change.
“It’s named in honour of the engineers who built Victoria Bridge a couple of hundred years ago,” Crevier explained. “And they used to live in houses that still exist and are among the oldest houses of Longueuil.”
One of those houses belongs to the Smythe’s, Crevier’s neighbours. For them, the news of the name change came as a shock.
“It was just dropped on us. No consultation, no nothing,” Alan Smythe, who signed the petition, said.
“I was emotional about it… I was really not happy,” Patricia Smythe added.
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In the streets of downtown Montreal, support for the initiative is mixed.
“They have a good point but I can’t go against Jean Beliveau,” Jean-Francois Houde said. “I’m a huge Montreal Canadiens fan so I don’t see why they can’t change the name to honour him.”
“I think it’s a good idea to honour the memory of Jean Beliveau, maybe it’s not a good street to modify,” Patrice Jolie said.
And that, Crevier agrees on.
“We’d like to honour him but not in this way.”
Crevier is taking his petition to Longeuil City Hall in the hopes that the signs that still remain on the street, won’t be taken down any time soon.