Calgary

Langevin Bridge: Unconventional Panel debates name change

Should Calgary city council rename the Langevin Bridge because the man it was named after helped found Canada's residential school system? The Calgary Eyeopener's Unconventional Panel weighs in.

'I don't agree with making a fuss over it,' says George Brookman on bridge's link to residential schools

Unconventional Panel on renaming Langevin Bridge

6 years ago
8:49
A petition has been circulating online, urging the City of Calgary to change the name of the Langevin Bridge because of its namesake's association with residential schools. 8:49

Should Calgary city council rename the Langevin Bridge because the man it was named after, Hector-Louis Langevin, was one of the architects of Canada's residential school system? 

More than 600 Calgarians think so, and have signed an online petition urging Calgary city council to do just that.

And while everyone on this week's Unconventional Panel agree the abuse aboriginal children endured in residential schools was a huge tragedy, they were divided on the idea of wiping the name Langevin from Calgary's history.

"I don't agree with making a fuss out of it," said local businessman George Brookman.​ "Denying history doesn't rewrite it,"

CEO of West Canadian Industries, George Brookman, (left), Cowtown Opera Company artistic director, Michelle Minke, and Calgary engineer Ravin Moorthy. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

​"I think as history changes, the way that we honour our history could also change,"said Michelle Minke, founder and artistic director of Cowtown Opera.

"As well as the metaphor of the bridge. You know, that we have to do a lot of work to get to the other side. It's a nice gesture of healing in our community."

But Calgary engineer, Ravin Moorthy, stands on Brookman's side of the bridge.

"George Washington was a slave owner. Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner. And these are considered great people in the history of the world. Do we go back and now rename the capital of the United States something else?"

Moorthy says instead of signing a petition, Calgarians should be doing something tangible for the city's aboriginal community.

"I think it makes everyone feel good. 'Oh I did my part, I signed the petition.' But we have serious issues that need have to dealt with seriously," said Moorthy.

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