Buildings renamed, monuments fall in recognition of oppression of Indigenous people
Creation of residential schools is a focus as Canadians acknowledge historical abuses
While Canadians observing the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., may feel assured this country does not have hundreds of U.S. Civil War monuments, some statues and buildings divide Canadians along similar lines.
One is the statue in Halifax of Edward Cornwallis, a governor of Nova Scotia and a military officer credited by the British for founding the city in 1749. Later that year, he issued a bounty on the scalps of Mi'kmaq people.
A recent protest by activists and Indigenous people at the statue was interrupted by five off-duty military members wearing black polo shirts who referred to themselves as Proud Boys, a so-called "Western chauvinist" organization associated with the far right — whose founder has defended Cornwallis's scalping proclamation.
Renaming the Langevin Block
In June Prime Minister Justin Trudeau renamed the Langevin Block, the building housing his offices on Wellington Street in Ottawa, opposite Parliament Hill. The new name is The Office of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council.
Hector-Louis Langevin was a Father of Confederation, a prominent member of Sir John A. Macdonald's cabinet and a proponent of the residential school system.
In Calgary, the Langevin Bridge has been renamed Reconciliation Bridge.
U of Victoria renames Trutch Residence
Joseph Trutch garners a similarly divided reaction. He is remembered as B.C.'s first lieutenant-governor, an engineer and commissioner of public works. But he is also remembered as a man who trampled over the rights of B.C.'s Indigenous peoples in the 19th century.
The University of Victoria recently removed his name from one of its residence buildings. It was temporarily renamed Lansdowne Residence #1 until a new name is selected.
B.C.'s Hanging Judge is cut down
The Law Society of B.C. recently removed a statue of the province's first chief justice Matthew Begbie from its foyer.
Begbie sentenced six Tsilhqot'in chiefs to death before Canada became a country, earning the nickname the Hanging Judge. The statue was removed, the society said, to be replaced with a more unifying and inclusive symbol.
Indigenous and municipal leaders debate the future of a public statue of Begbie in New Westminister, B.C.
Nicholas Flood Davin's role explained
In Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery the grave of Nicholas Flood Davin, which contains a prominent bust of the man, has been augmented by a plaque drawing attention to his role in the residential school system.
The Regina journalist and politician, an early proponent of voting rights for women, also wrote an influential report in 1879 that led to the creation of residential schools.
Cindy Blackstock, an Indigenous activist and a professor of social work at McGill University, worked with the Beechwood Cemetery to have the plaque installed to recognize Davin's role in what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called a "cultural genocide."
Ryerson U name is protested
At Ryerson University in Toronto, a student-led campaign has pushed for the school to change its name out of respect for residential school survivors.
Egerton Ryerson, a pioneer of public education in Ontario, is widely believed to have helped shape residential school policy.
The campaign also seeks the removal of his statue.
Hudson's Bay drops a Confederate plaque
The Hudson's Bay Company has removed a plaque from its flagship store in downtown Montreal that commemorated Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States during the U.S. Civil War.
The plaque hung on a wall of the store on Union Avenue. Written in French, it read: "To the memory of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States, who lived in 1867 in the home of John Lovell, which was once here."
It was placed in 1957 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group dedicated to glorifying a revisionist perspective of Confederate history.
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