Naming/Re-naming or Dedicating of Municipal Property, Buildings and Park Elements Policy

By-Law Number
As Amended by

Legislative History: Adopted June 13, 2017 (By-law No. CPOL.-26-222); Amended July 24, 2018 (By-law No. CPOL.-26(a)-396); Amended July 25, 2023 (By-law No. CPOL.-26(b)-210)

Last Review Date: July 25, 2023

Service Area Lead: City Clerk

1. Policy Statement

1.1 This policy establishes the general guidelines for approving the naming/renaming or dedication of municipal property, buildings and park elements by Municipal Council.

2. Definitions

2.1 Municipal Property and Buildings – means all real property including unimproved lands, buildings and structures owned by the City including but not limited to dedicated parkland, open space, recreational facilities, bridges, operations facilities and administrative office buildings.

2.2 Park Elements – means substantial structures or recreational aspects of a park such as trails, ball diamonds, gardens, playgrounds, washrooms and water elements.

3. Applicability

3.1 This policy applies to the following five (5) main types of situations that could initiate a request for a naming/renaming or dedicating of municipal property, buildings or park elements:

a) an opening or re-opening of a building or bridge, which may require donations;

b) a civic recognition;

c) international, national or provincial events/competitions;

d) new park development; 

e) corporate sponsorship.

3.2 This policy does not apply to:

a) the recognition of Fallen Fire Fighters or Fire Station namings; 

b) individual naming dedications; 

c) commemorative street naming.

4. The Policy

4.1  The intent of this Policy is to:

a) continue the current traditional practice of naming municipal property, buildings and park elements after significant geographical, neighbourhood and historical elements;

b) recognize, on an exception basis, significant contributions that organizations (individuals may be considered in special circumstances with the exception of elected officials currently in office) have made to the public life and the well-being of the people of London;

c) provide direction on how to apply for approval to name, re-name or dedicate major external municipal property, buildings or park elements.

In instances where a naming request has been proposed as a result of receiving a significant donation toward the acquisition, creation or redevelopment of the property, building or element, consideration will be given to the sponsorship contribution being provided.

4.2 Naming Principles

a) Names shall be unique; name duplication and similar sounding names shall be avoided.

b) Names should give a sense of place, continuity, belonging and celebrate the distinguishing characteristics and uniqueness of London.

c) Names should maintain a long standing local area identification with the residents of London.

d) Names shall be understandable to the majority of Londoners.

e) Names shall not be discriminatory, derogatory or political in nature.

f) Names shall be consistent with any other applicable City of London policies and naming standards.

g) Names shall assist with emergency response situations by being consistent with street names and geographical locations.

h)The form of signage shall be consistent with corporate signage and plaque guidelines.

i) The cost associated with signage will be the responsibility of the City when the naming/re-naming has been initiated by the City and will be the responsibility of the community when the naming/re-naming has been initiated by the community.

j) The City of London makes all final decisions concerning what is placed or occurs on City property and in its buildings.

k) Names associated with a sponsorship will be considered when a donation amount relates to the construction value of an element.

l) Naming or renaming shall not be made after an elected official currently in office.

m) Council shall retain the right not to name certain facilities of broad community importance such as (but not limited to) City Hall.

4.3  Naming Preferences

a) Priority (in order of preference) shall be given to continuing the current naming/re-naming practice of City of London property and buildings after:

i) the area or planning district in which the property or building is located to provide a geographical association to help the public to locate a park, bridge or building more easily;

ii) the most dominant "constant feature either within or nearby" the selected site such as an associated significant ecological or natural resource feature;

iii) a historical name related to London's heritage and/or historical folklore;

iv)  an event or person of international, national or provincial significance; or,

v) an organization (or individual, with the exception of elected officials currently in office or fallen Fire Fighter) to recognize:

  • particular activities and significant contributions to the London community and/or society; and/or,
  • outstanding contributions and/or sponsorships made toward the development and/or enhancement of a property or building.

b) Preference shall be given to naming City of London Elements (within parks or buildings) after an organization or an individual.

c) When a name of an organization (or an individual) is being considered the following specific criteria should apply:

i) the contribution they have made to the public life and the well-being of London;

ii) the sponsorship contribution made toward the acquisition, creation or redevelopment of the property, building or feature;

iii) a direct relationship or association that existed between the place of residence of the individual and the property, building or element to be named;

iv) where a property, building or element is named after a sports or entertainment celebrity the type of element shall be associated with the celebrity; and,

v) where the name of an individual or organization is so used, approval shall be obtained from the individual (their family) or the organization for such naming.

4.4  Types of Situations Applicable to Naming

a) An Opening or Re-opening of a Building or Bridge

For the opening or re-opening of a building which may be the result of a capital building campaign, Council approves the proposed business plan which includes a plan for contribution recognition upon receipt of public donations. Citizens of London contribute to this campaign for numerous reasons including being recognized through receiving appreciation from the City and/or having their name located on a plaque board or on a particular feature of the building or park. Donations made for a building campaign are usually collected by a community group toward the project.

The names of the Mayor, the appropriate Standing Committee of Council and Members of Council may be noted on a recognition plaque when the names are those of the Council which approved the project.

b) A Civic Recognition

A civic recognition may be requested by a member of the public or may be initiated by the City itself to recognize a group or an individual’s outstanding accomplishments, involvement or work in the local community or in a provincial or national forum.

c) International, National or Provincial Events/Competitions

A naming or re-naming of a building or an amenity within it in recognition of it being a venue for international, national or provincial events/competitions will occur to fulfill a condition agreed to by the City as part of its hosting obligations. Members of Council may also consider the naming or re-naming of such a facility or amenity to recognize an individual, group or corporation who donates significantly toward meeting the cost of hosting the event/competition. The naming or re-naming may be for the duration of a specified number of years, at any time after which Members of Council in its sole discretion may re-name the building or amenity.

d)  New Park Development

Planning and Economic Development is responsible for naming new parks which are developed as part of the subdivision development process. The names selected for new parks continue the current naming/re-naming practice adopting the area, subdivision or planning district name in which the park is located to provide a geographical association to help the public to locate the park more easily.

e) Corporate Sponsorship

The City’s Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Policy outlines the situations and specific application criteria. It applies to all business relationships between The Corporation of the City of London and businesses which contribute either financially or in-kind to City programs, services or facilities in return for recognition, public acknowledgement or other promotional considerations. Only for cases of sponsorship which have an associated sunset clause, will a corporate name or advertising brand be used.

4.5 Types of Naming Situations Not Covered by This Policy

The following situations are not covered by this policy:

a) the recognition of fallen Fire Fighters and Fire Stations; 

b) Individual naming dedications made to a person to celebrate a special occasion such as:

i) a birth;

ii) a marriage;

iii) an anniversary;

iv) an accomplishment; 

v) a major landmark event, person(s) such as a retirement or happenings.

Options for individual naming dedications can be found for naming of park features covered under The Commemorative Park Bench and Tree Program and The Storybook Gardens Brick Naming Program. Commemorative street namings are addressed through the Commemorative Street Name Program. Requests for naming dedications will not be granted for memorial purposes normally found at cemeteries nor will they be granted for elected officials currently in office.

4.6  Application and Review Process

a)  Applicant(s) shall submit a written request for a civic naming to the City Clerk. The written request shall include the following:

i) background information concerning the rationale for consideration of the request;

ii) biographical information if named after an organization (or an individual);

iii) documentation including letters from organizations and individuals providing substantial support for the request. The applicant(s) is responsible for securing consensus within the community with respect to the application. Opposition to the application must be addressed and resolved by the applicant(s).

b) Upon receipt of an application, the City Clerk shall:

i) review the application for conformity with this policy;

ii) circulate the application for comment on the suitability of the application, which would include:

  • the Municipal Addressing Advisory Group (MAAG) which is comprised of representatives from Planning and Economic Development, City Clerk's Office, Environment and Infrastructure Services, and Emergency Services (Fire, Police and Ambulance) to review all proposed external civic names for the purpose of minimizing confusion for emergency response situations;
  • Planning and Economic Development, Recreation and Sport, and Neighbourhood and Community-Wide Services - for new park development naming, park re-naming and park elements;
  • Environmental and Infrastructure - for bridge naming; and,
  • Recreation and Sport, and Neighbourhood and Community-Wide Services - for recreational facility naming.

c) consult with the community and identify possible objections and/or positive responses and determine the level of support for the requested civic naming;

d) determine whether or not a special event is planned to coincide with a formal naming ceremony;

e) submit a report with the appropriate recommendation to the appropriate Standing Committee of Council to either approve or not approve the naming/re-naming as requested by the applicant(s). The report shall include, as applicable, the following:

  • a recommendation;
  • rationale for recommended action;
  • confirmation of the individual’s/organization’s endorsement and community consensus;
  • whether or not a ceremony is required;
  • timing of the ceremony;
  • future contributions to financing and ongoing maintenance (if applicable);
  • the duration of time the name will be used (if applicable); and,
  • other associated expenses with respect to signs, ceremonies, record keeping and how these costs will be addressed.

4.7  Special Circumstances

There may be special occasions where the above noted review process would not be followed (i.e., for a surprise civic naming). As an example, contests for naming are considered as a special circumstance requiring approval by the appropriate Standing Committee of Council.

4.8 Civic Renaming

The City of London believes that existing names have a historical significance and place within the community and should not be changed unless it is an exceptional situation and it can be proven that the majority of the local community is in support of the change. Each application for re-naming will be examined on a case by case basis, and the following considerations shall apply:

a) Priority for re-naming will be granted by City Council in instances where a re-naming is a condition of the awarding of an international, national or provincial event/competition and/or the duration of time agreed upon as part of this condition has expired.

b) Civic names may be changed if there are specific circumstances that arise which warrant a review.

c) The re-naming of an entire building or property could include:

i) adding another new name to the existing name; or,

ii) subdividing or portioning off a particular property or feature to be given a new name or sub name; or,

iii) placing the names of an organization (or individuals) on a plaque to recognize their contributions if it is found that it is inappropriate to name a particular property or building in its entirety.

4.9  Corporate Sponsorship Naming/Renaming

In addition to the general civic renaming considerations noted in part 4.8, above, corporate sponsorship naming/renaming initiatives shall:

a) have a specific sunset clause associated with the length of time that the corporate name will be used, with no guarantee of perpetuity;

b) consider the significance of the contribution made relative to the construction and operating cost of the property that is the subject of the naming;

c) require the sponsor to pay for the signage, unless the City has requested the name change; 

d) not be limited to this policy in those circumstances where there are more appropriate ways of recognizing a sponsorship, such as internal facility naming, the dedication of plaques at a facility such as the use of donor plaque boards, or the purchase of park features such as trees, benches and picnic tables.

Last modified:Tuesday, April 09, 2024