It’s been fascinating to hear and read the different takes that locals have on the nickname LoLo for Lower Lonsdale. And I don’t use the word fascinating lightly.
Some locals are bitterly opposed to this shorthand version with a fervour typically reserved for issues of grand importance—like civil rights, global warming or cars vs. bikes in Metro Vancouver. The comments on this North Shore News article are particularly entertaining and polarizing.
Others, such as the City of North Vancouver and tourism branding guru, Roger Brooks, want to milk the cutesy contraction for all its worth. The Central Waterfront Development Plan, brained by Brooks and The City, schemes to put these banners on all the light posts in the LoLo District:
And don’t forget about the T-shirts, military hats and tote bags that tourists will be lining up in droves to get their hands on:
Like most stances bordering on the extreme, both of these takes are ill-conceived, short-sighted and rather unreasonable.
It’s a simple acronym of a cumbersome name, people. Nothing more.
“LoLo” is somewhat pleasant to roll off the tongue, has no negative connotations that actually matter and is perfect for squeezing into 140 character tweets. Harbouring a deep-seeded hatred towards something so trivial is completely absurd.
Conversely, splattering the “LoLo District” brand across every marketable surface will transform any endearment it had into an obnoxious farce faster than a hit radio station with your favourite song. The neighbourhood doesn’t need marketing experts shoving money-grubbing, tourist-oriented branding strategies in our collective face, any more than it needs traditionalist assholes thumping history books.
Here are some other strong takes I’ve heard about “LoLo”:
LoLo sounds pretentious like SoHo or douchey like Yolo
I don’t like the way it sounds
What if I told you that not liking a name because you think it sounds pretentious and douchey is really quite pretentious and douchey? Do you need help mopping up your head that just exploded everywhere?
Lolo translates into “Grandfather” in Filipino dialect Tagalog.
Not sure why being called Grandfather would be a bad thing, other than sounding a little weird. If it isn’t ideal–apologies to our Filipino friends—sometimes you have to drink with the short straw.
To the people vehemently opposed to “Lolo” in all it’s forms,
I encourage you to grab a stiff drink at Raglan’s Bistro. In this surf-inspired restaurant/bar, “Lolo” means “Crazy” in Hawaiian.
To The City and Mr. Brooks,
Let’s tap the brakes on the LoLo District branding machine. Nothing turns a fun thing into a not-so-fun thing faster than trying to exploit it for every last penny.
The thing about nicknames is that it’s completely fine to have more than one. I’m sure your mother calls you something different from your significant other who calls you something different from your group of friends. You don’t have to be a hip-hop artist to have several different aliases. LoLo is just another name for Lower Lonsdale: a community with thousands of diverse residents, who are fully entitled to call their home whatever the heck they want.