(CNN) — It’s been one of the most divisive elections in North America this year.

But close to 11 months after the poll was announced, and after a shock last-minute change of candidates, the town of Asbestos, Quebec, has a new name.

Close to half of the town’s 6,000 or so residents turned out for a parking lot-based “car vote” in mid-October, and the new name — Val-des-Sources — was revealed Monday.

But the name that swung it only joined the race less than two weeks before.

There was such controversy around the original proposals put forward by the municipal council that the Asbestos debate quickly turned toxic — and a new batch of suggestions had to be rushed out to mollify locals.

Mining history

The city initially grew from the development of an asbestos mine around a large deposit of the substance discovered there in 1897. For decades, the town thrived on asbestos mining and product manufacturing.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, but very toxic, substance once widely used for insulation. It’s been banned in Canada since 2018.

When inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers can become trapped in the body, and may eventually cause genetic damage to the body’s cells. Exposure may also cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

The decision to change the town’s name was made in November 2019, as the negative connotations have long been hindering business and tourism endeavors.

“As citizens are the ambassadors of a municipality and are the representatives of its vitality, it was obvious that the public would be involved in the process and the choice of the new name,” said Mayor Hugues Grimard at the time.

<img class="Image__image" src="https://hour-news.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/canadian-town-of-asbestos-chooses-new-name.jpg" alt="Call me Val: Asbestos could have been named after the Jeffrey mine (pictured),

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