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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Shingle Bay here to stay

Shingle Bay here to stay
Councillors heed public sentiment against honour for late pope

The verdict is in on renaming a Lake Simcoe bay after the late pope John Paul II, Coun. Ralph Cipolla acknowledged at Monday night’s council committee meeting.

Public sentiment, as indicated by correspondence sent to the city after a call for input on the proposed name change, is resoundingly against renaming Shingle Bay.

All 21 responses received by the city were against renaming the bay.

“None of us, from what I understand, knew anything about (Shingle) Bay,” Cipolla said.

But letter writers were quick to point out the bay, named for its coarse gravel, was an important spot for early settlers travelling along the shore of Lake Simcoe.


“Now I’m better informed on what (Shingle) Bay was, and I respect that and honour that,” Cipolla said.

Last spring, the Ward 2 councillor first proposed renaming the bay to commemorate the Polish pontiff’s visit to the area in 2002.

John Paul II, who died in April 2005, stayed at Strawberry Island, a retreat run by Basilian Fathers, during his visit to Toronto for World Youth Day events.

His unexpected trip in a cabin cruiser to the shoreline near the Huronia Regional Centre (HRC), an institution for the developmentally handicapped in Orillia, attracted hundreds of spectators.

Shingle Bay extends from Kitchener Park to Brough’s Creek.

Cipolla said his job as councillor is to bring constituents’ queries to council.

“And if the community accepts it, that’s fine, and if they don’t, we can do what the community wants,” he said. “And I want to reiterate, this was not a religious thing, as indicated by some of the letter writers.”

Five of the 21 responses suggested commemorative plaques to recognize the late pope and the bay.

Monday night, council decided to explore wording for that kind of a plaque, to be located at the Lightfoot Trail.

Coun. Joe Fecht said such a marker should recognize the area’s use by early settlers, John Paul II’s visit, and the HRC, which has fronted the bay for more than a century.

“I think that’s what the marker should be talking about,” Fecht said.

Coun. Michael Fogarty thanked Cipolla for bringing the proposal forward, but noted he’d received numerous comments from constituents wanting to preserve the historic name.

“And I don’t want the city to get into the habit of renaming things,” he said.

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