Montreal’s Subway Stations & Articles, Prepositions

Recently, the Société de transport de Montréal, Montreal’s transit commission (STM), announced name changes of some subway stations. According to the STM, these changes ensure consistency with subway station names and their corresponding thoroughfares.

For instance, instead of

  • Acadie
  • Parc
  • L’Assomption

the STM will now rename these stations as

  • De L’Acadie
  • Du Parc
  • De L’Assomption

In addition, Square-Victoria subway station has been renamed as Square-Victoria-OACI, since the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is located nearby.

On one hand, we can make a case for these name changes. After all, the thoroughfares corresponding to the above subway stations are boulevard de l’Acadie, avenue du Parc, and boulevard de l’Assomption, respectively. On the other hand, I don’t see how these changes will affect Montrealers or people like myself, handpicked from Ontario and living in Montreal for the past eight years. Furthermore, I don’t see how these changes will affect Montreal’s English-language communities. Many English-speaking colleagues I know don’t precede street names with preopositions or articles. I have never heard my colleagues say, “I’m having coffee with a friend at Starbucks, located on Du Parc Avenue.” They will instead say, “I’m having coffee with a friend at Starbucks, located on Parc Avenue.” Besides, and correct me if I’m wrong, most definite/indefinite articles and prepositions are deleted in English mailing addresses, unless they are essential to the street name. For instance, the city’s boulevard de Maisonneuve translates as De Maisonneuve Boulevard. Why retain the article? It is essential to the main thoroughfare; in addition, the thoroughfare is named after Montreal’s founder Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve.

There you have it: let’s precede subway station names by prepositions and articles in the name of consistency with main thoroughfares. Something tells me the STM should be focusing on more important items instead of worrying about minor inconsistencies. What do you think? Are subway station names preceded by prepositions or articles in your neighbourhood?

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