Montreal’s new span across the St. Lawrence River, which is scheduled to open in June, will be called the Samuel De Champlain Bridge.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne made the announcement at the construction site Wednesday, saying the decision followed public consultations this year.
The $4.2-billion bridge, which links Montreal with its south shore, replaces a crumbling structure built in 1962. It was also named after the French explorer but was known simply as the Champlain Bridge.
Champagne says the new name follows the pattern of other Montreal bridges, which use the full name of the historic figure they honour. For example, one of the city’s other main bridges is the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
A controversy erupted in 2014 when reports surfaced that the Conservative government planned to drop the Champlain name in favour of the late hockey legend Maurice Richard. The infrastructure minister at the time, Denis Lebel, withdrew the idea at the request of Richard’s family.
A new federal structure being built to connect Detroit and Windsor, Ont. will have a hockey connection. The $5.7-billion Gordie Howe International Bridge is due to be operational by late 2024.
Samuel De Champlain was a French explorer and cartographer who first voyaged to Canada in 1603. He is recognized as the founder of Quebec City in 1608.