The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 February 2004

We'll show those Canadians

Last year, Rep. Leonard Sullivan was trying to drum up support for renaming the North Canadian River (so called because it lies north of the Canadian River) the Oklahoma River.

Sullivan's idea went nowhere, but it's resurfaced this year in a reduced form: Senate Bill 1259, now out of committee, would rename the segment of the river that runs through central Oklahoma City — seven miles from Meridian to Eastern — to, yes, the Oklahoma River.

I couldn't tell you if anyone from Canada came through here with the idea of naming two rivers after his homeland, but French explorers and traders were active here in the late 17th and early 18th century, ending presumably around 1762 when France signed the Louisiana territory (which included Oklahoma) over to Spain so they wouldn't have to give it up to the British. (Spain traded it back to France in 1800, just in time for France to sell it off to the nascent United States.)

Proponents of the change are always citing the tourist trade as justification. Personally, were I just visiting town, I'd be more curious about a river called "Canadian" way down here than I would a river called "Oklahoma," but maybe that's just me.

Posted at 9:39 AM to Soonerland


I seem to recall that one of those '60s garage bands compiled on the Pebbles series, the Five Canadians (who did "Never Alone"), were actually a Texan group that named themselves after that river.

Posted by: Dawn Eden at 2:35 PM on 15 February 2004

Which river goes through Hemphill County in the Texas Panhandle — the seat of which is the city of Canadian.

Besides, it's good counterpoint to that other Texas band, the Five Americans (who were actually from Durant, Oklahoma).

Posted by: CGHill at 4:58 PM on 15 February 2004