A topic of common concern to residents of Dartmouth and other communities of the HRM is the wording of signs.
There are many communities in the present HRM. Each of these communities has its own unique history and pride. Residents of individual communities feel a sense of pride and identity in being a member of their own community.
Signage can either help or hinder the feeling of pride and identity of residents in their communities.
A fine positive example is the Downtown Dartmouth sign that helps both residents and workers in downtown Dartmouth to have pride in the daily lives.
An unfortuante negative example we can remember is the short-lived sign that was erected stating: “Halifax – Sullivan’s Pond”. This was awkward and did not accurately represent the location as a part of the community of Dartmouth.
It is important to remember that the process of amalgamation of many diverse communities into one larger city is an undertaking that will have wrinkles to iron out as time unfolds. We in the HRM are still facing some wrinkles, but there should be fewer and fewer post-amalgamation problem spots as time carries on.
Having lived in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and having recently past through there by car listening to local radio, I noted how 3 levels of moniker were used without conflict.
- GTA – A descriptive geographical description for the Greater Toronto Area
- City of Toronto – The legal and official name of the municipality. City officials are referred to as “Toronto Mayor” or “Toronto Councillor for East York”.
- Original community names are honoured. Local parks, as I remember from my time living there, had very clear titles of the original township name – East York, North York, Toronto, Scarborough, Etobicoke, etcetera.
I understand the desire to simplify our amalgamated municipality’s official legal name. For people who travel, often times it is easier to say, “I’m from Halifax” to people who don’t know the names of the many individual community names of the HRM. Especially for official business, there is a logical argument to simplify the name.
But, it does not make sense to give signs denoting place names without making the individual community name prominent. Whether it is a city park in Dartmouth, Cole Harbour, Eastern Passage, Sackville, Bedford, or any of the other uniquely individual communities now included in the legal City of Halifax, these parks should be named in accordance to their original community names.
Regarding the HRM moniker… Even with “HRM” removed from our official signs and publications, I expect there is a good chance that the term “HRM” is here to stay. It is a descriptive, rather than official, designation that more easily includes – rather than excludes – the individuality of the other townships contained within the legal City of Halifax.
The three levels of moniker are NOT mutually exclusive, and in fact they can work in harmony together – the City of Halifax, the HRM, and the individual community names that exist in our municipality.
I was told by a sitting Councillor that city staff and Council have recognized this branding issue and have come up with a strategy to rectify signage in the HRM so as to pay respect to local communities by including their names on localized signs, and to make a smaller “City of Halifax” logo in a less prominent position on these signs.
I will certainly follow this issue and if there are further problems, I will do my best to make sure it is rectified to the satisfaction of our Dartmouth residents, and to the satisfaction of residents of the HRM at large.
Here are recent photos of signs in Dartmouth that residents feel are problematic. I share the belief that the present signage strategy is still problematic, and I wish to work toward a simple solution. Simply, include the individual community’s name MOST PROMINENTLY on localized signs. Just as I have seen on many Toronto area signs, the City of Halifax does not need to be more than a small official “seal” like logo in the bottom right or left of the sign.
Signage of the type below only serves to dismay and frustrate residents, and should be rectified!
The above is a sign posted to indicate sidewalk construction in Dartmouth on Pleasant Street. No where on the sign does it indicate the community name – “Dartmouth”.
The above is a sign near Lake Banook. Other than the address, the main indication is that Henry Findlay Park is “HALIFAX” as emphasized by the bold letters offset with green background.
Other than the address and the TD Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting event title, there is no indication on this sign that it exists in the proud community of Dartmouth.
Finally!! A sign that we can truly be proud of!!!