Bishop Grandin Boulevard, greenway expected to change names this fall

Consultations to change the name of Bishop Grandin Boulevard and the greenway that runs along it are underway, says Derick Young, president of Bishop Grandin Greenway.

Small minority opposes removing Bishop Grandin from place names

Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin lobbied for the establishment of residential schools. (Trevor Brine/CBC )

Bishop Grandin Boulevard is expected to have a new name this fall. So too will the greenway that runs alongside it.

Consultations to change the name of both the road and trail — which are named after Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin, who lobbied the federal government to fund the construction of residential schools in the 19th century — are underway, said Derick Young, president of Bishop Grandin Greenway.

"It's likely that the recommendation will go to council sometime in the fall," Young said.

"It's almost certain in my mind — and from what I've heard — that a new name for the street will be chosen and it's likely that we'll follow the lead of that recommendation, unless a new name is kind of gifted to us through this consultation."

Neither Young nor his organization have been involved in the consultation process, but he has been kept in the loop by a representative from the City of Winnipeg's Indigenous relations division.

About 55 per cent of people surveyed in a Probe Research poll earlier this summer were in favour of renaming the road, while 28 per cent wanted to keep the name but provide education about Grandin's role in residential schools and 17 per cent of people want to keep the name as is.

The poll surveyed a representative sampling of 600 adults living in Winnipeg from June 2 to 11, and Probe reported 95 per cent certainty that the results are within four percentage points of the results if the entire adult population of Winnipeg had been asked.

Despite the minority who oppose a name change, Young said it's necessary and will evoke positive emotions from people in St. Vital and throughout Winnipeg.

"History is in books. It's taught. History isn't the name of a street. Streets and lakes and other landmarks are names to honour people," Young said.

"So the question on the table here is really whether Bishop Grandin and others that have a past that we now know is not something that we would not honour in this day and age, and whether we should continue honouring them by leaving the streets the way they are."

Although he knows that a potential name change will result in work and costs tied to changing addresses and signs, be believes it's something that needs to happen.

"In the big scheme of things, it's a fairly small thing. But it's a step in the right direction," Young said. "It's a small step in the journey toward reconciliation."