Out in Puslinch, Ontario, there is a particular street that you would be shocked to see if you were ever driving through the small town of 7000 people. 

Puslinch, Ont. is home to “Swastika Trail,” a controversial name that the township is actually in favour of keeping. 

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In fact, following a vote held yesterday night, the community of Puslinch is officially not changing the name of Swastika Trail. 

A modern day symbol of hate, bigotry, and Neo-Nazism, the origins of the swastika are actually quite different. Originally, the swastika was a religious symbol found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism that embodied special spiritual significance depending on the religion. 

The town of Puslinch took inspiration from the swastika’s religious roots, naming the street Swastika Trail about 100 years ago. 

But nowadays the swastika isn’t linked to love and spirituality, which is why some members of the Puslinch community wanted to have the name changed. 

A resident interviewed by CBC said the swastika, and the street name Swastika Trail, will be “forever linked to hatred and various other atrocities.”

Another called on the Puslinch city council to “do the right thing” and change the street name. 

Other Puslinch residents, however, were in staunch favour of keeping Swastika Trail around. One even said they were “proud to live on Swastik Trail.”

Aside from arguably misplaced pride in a controversial name, defenders of Swastika Trail said changing the name would incur heavy fees for businesses set up along the street.

The name-change would require business owners to update various documents (Articles of Incorporation, promotional material, letterhead, etc.) that proponents of Swastika Trail deem unnecessary. 

At the end of the day, the folks for keeping Swastika Trail won out, and the street name will stay. 

It’s unfair of us, as outsiders, to say how a community should live and what they should be naming their streets. But, come on, when “swastika” is plastered on a street sign, you open yourself up to outside criticisms.

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