Asbestos is home to the Jeffrey mine, which was once the world's largest producer of the commodity and the town's largest employer.
Once a popular building insulation material, asbestos' use was banned in a number of countries, including Canada, for being a potential health hazard.
The negativity around asbestos became such that the two local mines were halted in 2011 and shut down for good in 2012.
Mayor Hugues Grimard has committed to a $100,000 name change in order to avoid having the association with the mineral, asbestos, which has been linked to several types of cancer. Canada banned the substance past year.
"I have a local development agent who went to OH and he tried to give his business card and people actually didn't even want to take the card", the mayor said. A company is also developing magnesium production out of the discarded residue from asbestos mining.
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The town announced this week that it will be seeking to change their name.
Now the city council, which initially tried to merge with a nearby town until talks collapsed over taxation, wants citizens to be involved in the search for a new name.
The decision does not seem to be receiving unanimous support on the town's Facebook page. The city will seek the advice of residents in terms of selecting a brand new title, saying the area's historical past and heritage can be taken into consideration. "Back in the day, the name attracted businesses because (asbestos) was considered white gold". "With the huge open pit mine right there, it is playing ostrich to change the name to pretend to potential investors that asbestos never existed, a big job to make disappear the remains of the mine that put this town on the map".
Commenters have already proposed many new names on the town's Facebook page, some clearly in jest, for example: Poumontousse (Lungcough), Asbestose (French for asbestosis, a disease caused by asbestos), Emphysème (French for emphysema), Trou-sans-fond (Bottomless Hole) and New Asbestos.