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Calgary to review City Hall LRT station renaming to include Bow Valley College

Meet me at the Bow Valley College station?

That could become part of the official name of the City Hall LRT station after Calgary’s Executive Committee allowed a notice of motion requesting its consideration to move to a full meeting of council

Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong put forward the motion, saying that for many students who frequent that stop, the Bow Valley name is more familiar. The proposal was for a renaming or the inclusion of Bow Valley College in the station name.

“One of the things we’ve heard loud and clear from both the students at Bow Valley, as well as Bow Valley College, is that a lot of Calgarians who go to Bow Valley College are new Calgarians,” Wong said.

“Often, they say, I’ll meet you at Bow Valley, right? And they say, well, what’s the Bow Valley station? That’s what they’re typically referring to.”

The two City Hall LRT stations (westbound and eastbound) border the Bow Valley College south campus. The north campus is one block away on 6 Avenue SE.

According to Bow Valley College, a 2019 internal survey showed that 89 per cent of students and 55 per cent of college employees used transit.

Bow Valley College president and CEO Dr. Misheck Mwaba said they expressed their interest in the name change with both Coun. Wong and Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

“The idea sparked from employees taking the train, who wondered why Bow Valley College is not identified on the CTrain platforms at its doorstep,” read a statement from Dr. Mwaba.

“With 14,000 learners and 1,300 employees, adding Bow Valley College to the station’s name would recognize the significance of our downtown campus.”

Other precedents for post-secondary naming

Coun. Wong said that for many LRT commuters, it’s a similar situation to those looking for SAIT or the University of Calgary. Those post-secondary names are on the stations adjacent to the schools.

“We look at the LRT station names as a wayfinding to to a destination. Bow Valley College is obviously a destination for a lot of people, much the same as SAIT and University of Calgary as well,” Wong said.

Dr. Mwaba agreed.

“It would provide an identifiable landmark for students and visitors to our campus,” Mwaba said.

The LRT stop was initially called the 2 Street SE station but changed to City Hall station in 1987 and initially only served eastbound trains. It was turned into a dual, east-west platform 10 years ago, replacing the old Olympic Plaza station.

Even though it has 35 years of name recognition built in, Coun. Wong doesn’t think there will be any confusion if the name is changed.

“I don’t think there would be confusion because, again, the building is, if you take a look at the exterior of the building, it is a prominent fixture in the downtown core,” he said.

The motion will be debated at an upcoming full meeting of Calgary city council.