11 Quebec sites that contain the N-word to be renamed

Quebec's toponymy commission has ordered name changes for 11 sites in the province that contain the N-word.

Quebec Toponymy Commission says place names that contain racial slur are pejorative, must go

The official name of these rapids on the Gatineau River south of Maniwaki, Que. includes a racial slur but they will now be renamed. (CBC)

The Quebec Toponymy Commission has ordered name changes for 11 sites in the province that contain the N-word.

The commission recognized six place names that include the N-word in English and five that include the word nègre, which in French can mean both Negro and the N-word.

Friday's decision is a victory for Rachel Zellars, a PhD student at McGill University who started a petition to get the names removed.

One of the sites, situated along the Gatineau River, is called Nigger Rapids. It was named for a black couple who drowned there in the early 1900s.

A hill 50 kilometres south of Montreal near the U.S. border contains the N-word in its name. It's the site where black slaves were buried from 1794 until slavery was abolished in 1833, according to the commission.

In Quebec's Laurentides region, the commission has recognized three rapids along the Red River that have the N-word in their names, but it does not detail the origin of the names on its website.

The Niger River, near Sherbrooke, was officially spelled with two g's between 1986 and 2006. According to the commission, it was named for the large presence of African-Americans along its banks in the early 19th century. The river is believed to have been used by those fleeing slavery in the United States.

There's also Lac du Nègre and Ruisseau du Nègre in west Quebec, Rivière du Nègre near Drummondville, Le Buttereau-du-Nègre on Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Lac à Ti-Nègre near Shawinigan.

The commission said even though the names have historical meaning, the terms are now pejorative and must be changed.


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