Burlington council unanimously approves renaming City’s Ryerson Park

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Published July 16, 2021 at 1:38 am

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During a recent meeting, Burlington Council unanimously approved a motion that Mayor Marianne Meed Ward brought forward at committee to begin the process of renaming the City’s Ryerson Park.

Last month, Meed Ward expressed her support after Halton District School Board (HDSB) trustees unanimously approved a motion to rename Ryerson Public School, which is adjacent to the park with the same name.

Edgerton Ryerson, whom the school was named after, is known for his contributions to Ontario’s public educational system. However, his recommendations were also instrumental in the design of Canada’s residential school system.

Back in 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded the school system amounted to the genocide of Indigenous people.

As a result, the Chair of the Board sent a letter to Meed Ward to inform her of the HDSB process to rename the school, as part of the Board motion.

At the time, the mayor released a statement confirming she was in support of the name change and “the reasons behind it.”

“As part of our continued commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, I am working with City of Burlington staff to bring forward a report to Committee and City Council in July 2021 recommending removing the Ryerson name from our park and embarking on the council-approved naming process,” said Meed Ward back in June.

The motion that was unanimously approved at Council directed the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to begin the renaming process for Ryerson Park while keeping with the city’s naming policies and ensure that equity, diversity and inclusion is reflected in the new name. 

The director is then to report back to committee with a recommendation for a new name by November 2021.

“This is really about honouring our true history and moving forward together as a community. We benefit greatly from the work done already by the HDSB and we can learn from their consultation and research. It allows us to respond quickly to the cry from our community to action some of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action — honouring the Indigenous voices in the community,” said Meed Ward after the motion was approved.

“This is an ongoing journey, but renaming Ryerson Park is one step our City can take now. I am grateful for the deep conversations I’ve been able to have with local members of the Indigenous community, particularly around their suggestion of starting a Halton Indigenous Roundtable. This will be something I will be working on in the months to come.”

Residents are encouraged to stay tuned for more details about the public engagement process in the renaming of Ryerson Park.

Photo: Marianne Meed Ward’s website

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