In the spirit of being a friendly neighbor, this column is intended to offer new ideas to resolve a problem in Canada.

There is a town in the Province of Quebec by the name of Asbestos. It was originally named for the large asbestos mine that provided local workers with jobs for years. But since asbestos is now known to cause cancer, the mining is over and the town name has hindered business development. On a recent promotional trip to Ohio, a town official actually found prospects reluctant to touch his business card.

Now city officials are looking for suggestions for re-naming the town.

I have always been treated well in Canada and I want to help if I can. I was disappointed in November when President Donald Trump called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (irritating to Trump because he’s young and handsome) “two-faced” for snickering at Trump at a NATO Summit meeting in London. I thought maybe I could help smooth over any hard feelings. After all, we have a Peace Garden on the American-Canadian border.

So, here are 10 friendly town name suggestions. Let the citizens of the soon to be re-named Asbestos choose their own new town name.

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  1. Since Quebec is a French speaking province, I thought maybe a French expression would provide a perfect name for the town. So, I am offering as my first choice, the name AMITY. Amity means perfect relations or friendship between nations. In French, mon ami means my friend.
  2. The second choice is a name that suggests a place of health. The name is SPABECK, a town in Quebec that is a spa location. No more being spooked by a name that suggests a health threat.
  3. Another name, BELAIRE suggests clean air. An alternative to this choice would be Clean Air – about as straightforward as possible. Is it a problem to have a town name with two words? Not in Canada; after all, they have Moose Jaw.
  4. In Greek mythology, the PHOENIX is a legendary big bird that is consumed in flames, then arises out of its own ashes to live again. The name Phoenix suggests a new start out of a tragic past. The name would tell the story of the new city, Phoenix, arising out of the ashes of Asbestos – a new start with new life.
  5. A name like EAGLE CLAW is a reminder of the outdoor image of Canada. It is in the tradition of names like Moose Horn, Buffalo Narrows, Sturgeon Falls and Blind River.
  6. The name NEW VEGAS appeals to those attracted to the glitz of Las Vegas. It suggests the attitude of “let’s give it a rip and hope for good luck.”
  7. Canada leads the world in producing great hockey players and NHL championship teams. Therefore, a new name, HOCKEY TOWN recognizes the pride of that great Canadian tradition and national sport.
  8. As far as I can tell, the national musical instrument of Canada is the distinctive and colorful bagpipe. Therefore, I nominate the unforgettable name of BAGPIPE as another winning name to arise out of the ashes of Asbestos.
  9. The pleasant face of Canada is represented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Mounties are legendary. Their slogan is “they always get their man.” So, the name MOUNTY LOOKOUT suggests the safety and stability of a new town as well as a powerful unforgettable image of a handsome law enforcement personnel standing guard. “Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee” goes the Canadian national anthem (or “Protegna nos foyers et nos droits” in the French version).
  10. To round out the 10 choices for our friends, we suggest the name PRINCE ARCHIE to recognize the most recent birth in the royal family (still connected to Canada). The spirit of optimism is reflected by the smiling face of a newborn royal.

Those are the choices. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canadians love all 10 names so much that they rename Asbestos as Amity, then build nine new towns with the other nine names. After all, optimism turned loose has no limit.