Another Bob? GNWT asks public to help name buildings

The exterior of the Yellowknife DMV office on 49th Street. File photo.
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Residents of the territory have until March 15th to submit their ideas for what to name a new government office building in Yellowknife.

The building at 5015 49th Street houses driver and licensing services, among other government programs.

Soliciting names from the public can have interesting and sometimes infamous outcomes. An online poll held in 2016 to name a U.K. research vessel resulted in the name Boaty McBoatface topping the poll. The will of the public was later overruled and it was christened the RRS Sir David Attenborough instead, after the famed English natural historian.

The GNWT’s own 1996 bid to solicit public recommendations of a new name for the territory resulted in the name Bob as a top contender. The name came in second in a public poll, behind the territory’s current name. Obviously, the Bob option did not come to pass.

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There are some rules governing the naming of GNWT office buildings. They cannot be named in honour of living people. They may, however be named after people who are deceased and have made ‘significant contributions to public life and the well-being of territorial residents.’ Cultural, historical and geographic significance should also be considered when suggesting a name.

“When naming a GNWT-owned office building, consideration will be given to whether the proposed name reflects the historical, cultural, and geographic significance of the NWT,” a GNWT website reads.

In the end, cabinet approval is needed to rename any government building. So the likes ‘Bob’ or ‘Boaty McBoatface’ would likely be torpedoed.

The GNWT is also asking residents for their suggestions for naming government buildings in Fort Simpson and Inuvik.

Suggestions can be submitted either by completing an online form, or emailing jasmin_mirza@gov.nt.ca.

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