Niagara Falls staff looking at name change for Ryerson Crescent


Published July 14, 2021 at 7:13 pm


A resident’s request to have the name of Ryerson Crescent in Niagara Falls gained early traction as it worked its way through City Hall staff.

While most of the early correspondence around the name change was exchanged on June 29-30, the request that staff look into the possibility hit the Council Table at the July 13 meeting.

The request, granted by City Council last night, now gives staff permission to create a full report on the matter.

Nearly every street, centre, school and facility across Canada bearing the name Ryerson is a tribute to Egerton Ryerson, a Methodist minister, who was appointed Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada in 1844.

Historic figures Ryerson and Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A Macdonald, have come under fire in the past three months, given their roles in creating the Indigenous residential school system.

The discovery of some 1,300 unmarked children’s graves in the time since has stunned the country with citizens calling for removal of their names and statues across Canada.

The case of Ryerson Crescent in Niagara Falls is likewise similar.

A citizen acting on behalf of Dylan and Tabitha Porte, a young Anishnaabe family that has lived on Ryerson Crescent for the last 6 years, sent Town staff a request for the name change.

The correspondence noted that “Mr. Porte is from the Owl Clan family from Georgian Island (and) it is extremely offensive and difficult for his family to live on a street with Ryerson’s name.”

It was further pointed out that Niagara-on-the-Lake was currently revising a name change for their own Ryerson Park.

The office of Wayne Gates, MPP for Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie, was “cc”ed with the request and his Constituency Assistant Shannon Mitchell noted that “I had the opportunity to speak with Tabitha and Dylan (Porte) initially. Egerton Ryerson was instrumental to the establishment of what became the Residential School System – an act of genocide that has had a devastating impact on First Nations, Métis and Inuit people across Canada.”

She added that Gates fully supported the name change.

Niagara Falls Councillor Wayne Campbell saw the correspondence and was quick to lend it his support.

At this point, City planner Alex Herlovitch jumped in, noting “Once we have surveyed the neighbourhood and EMS, staff reports back on the percentage in favour versus opposed. Assuming support, notice is placed in the newspaper and a by-law subsequently passed.”

He continued, “It is the City’s policy that up to $150 is provided per person in the household for actual costs (receipts required) to change the street address on official documents (such as) personalized cheques, return address labels (including stationary), driver’s licence, and notice at Post Office.”

(Photo of Ryerson School in Hamilton after the school board decided to change its name)

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