The name of Ontario's first corporately-branded train station makes no sense
In a move that's sure to confuse thousands upon thousands of commuters over the next 10 years, Metrolinx has formally renamed the Oshawa GO Transit station after Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology — a school with a main campus more than two hours away from said station by foot, and about 30 minutes by bus.
"Welcome to Durham College Oshawa GO! Metrolinx is pleased to announce our first station naming partnership," tweeted Metrolinx, a provincial Crown agency, shortly before noon on Tuesday.
"Customers will see the new name throughout the station, including on the station building itself and on other assets and maps on our system."
Some worry that revising maps to include a train station named after a school that's actually 2o minutes away by car is a bad idea, but it's of note that you can walk to the institution's second campus, in Whitby, in only 40 minutes.
Good thing that’s not going to confuse anyone. pic.twitter.com/ioZ1vaMYLJ— Asif Hossain (@asifintoronto) October 4, 2022
There's been no word yet on how much money Durham College spent for naming rights. Back in 2019 it was rumoured that the Ford government would be charging anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 per station every month.
The academic institution did confirm today, however, that its agreement is valid for a period of 10 years.
As of Oct. 4, 2022, "Oshawa GO station" no longer exists as an official name, similar to how the ACC became Scotiabank Arena in 2018, or how the SkyDome is called The Rogers Centre (at least on paper).
"What was formerly known as the Oshawa GO station will now be referred to by its brand-new name – Durham College Oshawa GO," tweeted the school, revealing that it had "embarked on a 10-year station naming agreement" with Metrolinx.
So transit users are going to be getting off at the Durham College Oshawa GO station only to discover that they're nowhere near Durham College's Oshawa campus for... a DECADE?!?!?!?— Chad Crichton (@chadcrichton) October 4, 2022
I have SO MANY QUESTIONS.
To be fair, Durham College feels more appropriate (aside from the location issue) as a regional transit sponsor than some other brands, but this is only the first naming agreement to be announced.
More corporate rebrandings around the Metrolinx network are expected to follow now that the program is launched, and people are facetiously excited (slash actually nervous) about which companies might take part.
"Looking forward to Monster Energy Union Station," joked one Twitter user reacting to the news.
"So can we be looking forward to Pornhub Old Cummer station in the future?" joked another, referencing a station on the TTC network, for which naming rights are not currently being sold (though Doug Ford did champion the idea while he was a city councillor in 2011).
Inching ever closer to dystopian, confusing future where a subway station is sponsored by Subway. https://t.co/raXBtTzbsJ— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) October 4, 2022
On the whole, people just really seem to hate the name, criticizing it as stupid, sloppy, confusing, silly, bad and "a wayfinding disaster waiting to happen," among other things.
"Station sponsorships must not be presented in a way that's geographically confusing," said the advocacy group Transport Action Canada in a statement Monday afternoon.
"This presentation is deeply unhelpful to wayfinding and should be modified."
Criticism also abounds over the idea of, as one Twitter user put it, "one publicly funded institution paying another to waste time and money confusing people."
I mean, it's not like Metrolinx has other things to work on.
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