Thunder Bay

Fort Frances council to consider new name for Colonization Road

Colonization Road in Fort Frances may soon have a new name.

Councillor Douglas Judson to table resolution on Nov. 23

A man poses in front of a bright blue background
Fort Frances Coun. Douglas Judson will table a resolution on Nov. 23 that, if passed, would start the process of renaming Colonization Road. (Supplied by Douglas Judson)

Colonization Road in Fort Frances may soon have a new name.

Fort Frances Coun. Douglas Judson will table a resolution on Nov. 23, which, if approved, would start the process of coming up with a new name for the road, which is broken into unconnected east and west sections.

"It goes without saying that the concept of colonization is offensive to a lot of people in the community," Judson said. "Colonization as an ideology has been a malicious force against many of the people and their communities, in our region."

"And so this resolution seeks to address that by having a public conversation about renaming Colonization Road," he said. "Through this resolution, I am hoping to see an ad hoc committee of council struck, which will have wide latitude to design a process to canvas community input on moving forward with a new name that better reflects the nation to nation relationship, which has made our community possible."

Judson said if council approves the resolution on Nov. 23, a new name for Colonization Road could be decided upon next year, and implemented within the current term of council.

"What is unique about this community is a lot of people who live here can trace their lineage back to the early settlers of the district, myself included," Judson said. "My grandparents live on a farm that was homesteaded in the 1800s  ... and, you know, there's pride in that. People are very proud of their family's contributions to the communities we have today."

"I want them to know that they can continue to have that pride in their communities that they've contributed to, and what we've built together, while also recognizing that that wasn't everyone's experience," he said. "Colonization has been a damaging force for many people in the region."

"We need to address that issue, and we need to be open to discussions on that issue, in order to move forward together."

Judson will also host an online panel discussion titled Colonization in Context later this month, during which community members can hear perspectives on why names including the word colonization should be reconsidered.

It will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Central on Wednesday, Nov. 25, and will be live-streamed on Facebook.

Panelists include Migisi Sahgaigan (Eagle Lake) Coun. Lloyd Napish, educator JoAnne Formanek Gustafson, McMaster University sociology professor Jeffrey Denis, as well as an Indigenous youth and elder from a local First Nation who have yet to be announced.

Event information is available on the event's Facebook page.