Michael Phair to have Edmonton school named for him

Former city councillor Michael Phair will soon have a school named after him.

Former city councillor among five to be honoured by public school board

Former city councillor Michael Phair will soon have his name on an Edmonton school. (CBC)

Former city councillor Michael Phair will soon have a school named after him.

The first openly gay elected official in Alberta, Phair is among five people being honoured by the Edmonton Public School Board.

Their names will go before trustees at Tuesday's board meeting. The new schools on the list are:

  • Margaret Ann Armour School, 3815 Allan Drive;
  • Nellie Carlson School, 4110 MacTaggart Drive;
  • Ivor Dent School, 11005 34th Street;
  • Roberta MacAdams School; 975 Blackmud Creek, and;
  • Michael Phair School, 9407 211th Street.

Phair, who served on Edmonton city council from 1992 to 2007, said he only learned his name was on the list when someone from the board called him on Friday.

"I had no idea that my name was even being considered," he said. "I was both speechless and surprised … and certainly quite honoured. I do feel there are a lot of other people and group who are a whole lot more deserving than I am."

Phair, who founded HIV Edmonton and served as a board member with Edmonton Homeward Trust, said the school named in his honour is expected to open in the fall of 2017, in the Webber Greens neighbourhood.

Known for his good humour and self-effacing nature, Phair said he wasn't sure his name belongs on the front wall of a school.

"The other four are extremely illustrious," he said. "I'm not sure how I snuck in. I don't know quite how that happened."

Margaret Ann Armour is associate dean of the faculty of science at the University of Alberta. In briefing notes, the school board called her "Canada's premier ambassador of science" and noted she has worked "tirelessly to encourage girls and young women to consider careers in the sciences and engineering."

Nellie Carlson, a member of the Saddle Lake Cree First Nation, is a long-time activist for equal rights of aboriginal women and children.

Ivor Dent was mayor of Edmonton from 1968 to 1974.

Roberta MacAdams was a teacher, served in the First World War, and was later elected as one of Alberta's first female MLAs.