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EDITORIAL: What’s in a name, exactly?

Another view of the accessible playground.
An image of the proposed accessible playground. — Computer screenshot

Or a logo, for that matter?

Stay with us for a moment here.

On Wednesday at the Royal St. John’s Regatta, the Atlantic Lottery Female Amateur Race finished in the following order: Hyflodraulic Limited, The Cahill Group, Dawe and Burke, Steers Insurance and, finally, Pouch Cove Pharmacy. The racing shells? They had a preponderance of corporate names, too.

The NTV Satellite Network Male Amateur Race finished in this order: Fine Strokes Plaster and Painting Ltd., Belfor, NTV, Smith Stockley and Ricanna Petroleum.

Then, there was the Regatta committee itself: for much of the day, its Twitter feed was filled with thanks for its individual Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors.

The complaint is that the park will be built atop a giant Canadian Tire logo — that it will be corporate advertising in a public green space.

Even learning to row in the Regatta had a sponsor, oil giant Chevron Corporation, complete with a corporate link helpfully provided by the Regatta Twitter account.

Truth is, it’s expensive to plan and run the Regatta — and, for that matter, to train for it and enter — and without corporate sponsors, it wouldn’t happen.

And, during the annual media rush to provide the day with blanket coverage, corporate names, logos and signs were broadcast with abandon. Corporate team names were dutifully spoken on air, and no one seemed to be complaining about company involvement.

So here’s another question; if it’s acceptable — even expected and celebrated — to have corporate sponsors for an annual rowing event and festival, why are there people getting themselves tied in a knot about a proposed $1-million accessible Jumpstart playground that’s being donated to the city? The playground is going to be built at Mundy Pond Park, and the simple truth, according to the City of St. John’s, is that the city wouldn’t be able to find that kind of facility without Jumpstart’s involvement.

The complaint is that the park will be built atop a giant Canadian Tire logo — that it will be corporate advertising in a public green space. The people on the playground won’t see the logo’s shape — unless, perhaps, they are piloting a drone.

If the question is about whether the city should be agreeing to maintain the facility after it’s built, that’s reasonable enough.

If you want to address the overall question of whether, as a population, we feel that needed common resources should come from tax revenues, rather than from directed corporate charitable giving, we can have that argument, too.

But maybe the place to have it isn’t over an otherwise-unaffordable playground for kids with particular needs.

And if the question is about children’s exposure to corporate symbols, well, that horse is long out of the barn.

It went down the pond and back up again on Wednesday in 10 minutes and 12-and-three-quarter seconds, with Geotech Services rowing the Newfoundland Herald in the Chevron Male All Comers race.

Oh, and in every other boat, team and race, too.


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