Oshawa to re-name street named for former Governor-General over connection to residential schools

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Published September 13, 2021 at 4:47 pm

Sir Charles Bagot also served at times as British ambassador to the United States and Russia

A downtown Oshawa street named for an early Governor-General who is considered a founding father of the Residential School System is getting a name change.

Bagot Street, named after Charles Bagot, who served as Governor-General of the Province of Canada from 1842-1843, has just four addresses on it but is considered an important street as it leads directly to Oshawa City Hall, the McLaughlin Public Library and the Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery.

Bagot was credited with establishing Canada’s three-tier system of government and helping to foster ‘amicable’ relationships between the British and French during his one year in office, but he also ordered the criminal extradition of a fugitive slave back to the United States.

More importantly, Bagot initiated a major review of government policies regarding indigenous people. The Report on the Affairs of Indians in Canada, which was published in 1844, is considered a foundational document in the establishment of the Residential School System.

Ward 4 Councillor Derek Giberson, who put the original motion forward in June, said he didn’t believe the name change will “fix” anything but noted at the time that a name “so evocative of the pain and suffering of so many does not belong in a prominent place in our City centre.”

“I fully expect that some will label this as ‘cancel culture’ but I won’t lose sleep over that,” Giberson added. “It’s not much to ask for those unaffected, but might mean something to those who have been, and is at least a small added step on a longer path we need to commit to.”

The motion, which will go directly to Council from the Development Services Committee, directs Mayor Dan Carter to send a letter to Chief Kelly LaRocca of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Senator Cecile Wagner of the Oshawa and Durham Region Metis Council, Mary George of Bawaajigewan Aboriginal Community Circle and Uzma Danish, Chair of Oshawa’s Community Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee requesting comments on the renaming of the street.

The City will also consult with the four property owners/tenants as well as emergency services regarding the implications of the name change.

 

 

 

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