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Asbestos, Quebec, Gets a New Name

Canadian town is now 'Val-des-Sources'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2020 4:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Asbestos, Quebec, doesn't exactly have a nice ring to it. And after more than a century, residents have changed it. The Canadian town was given the name at the end of the 19th century because, at the time, the world's largest asbestos mine was located there, the BBC reports. That was, of course, when asbestos was seen as a "miracle mineral" and had all sorts of construction-related uses. It's since been declared a carcinogen, the Washington Post reports, and the mine's owners long ago declared bankruptcy and shut the mine down in 2011.

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But some 7,000 people still live in the town, and voters have now dubbed it "Val-des-Sources," which, per the Globe and Mail, "refers to the valleys and bodies of water of the surrounding landscape, as well as the figurative source of future hopes." The issue had been an emotional one, with a name change previously being suggested and then rejected in 2006. "As demand for the mineral grew, so did local pride in land and labor: Jeffrey Mine workers believed they were making the world a safer place," historian Jessica van Horssen wrote in a book about the town. "The impact the terminal decline of the asbestos industry had on the local identity was considerable, and still is." (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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