Name change considered for major Winnipeg roadway, elementary school

Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin and Egerton Ryerson are known as leaders of the Indian residential school system

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman feels it's time to change the name of Bishop Grandin Boulevard. Photo: City of Winnipeg


Winnipeg’s mayor says it’s time to change the controversial name of a major roadway in the city.

Brian Bowman, who is Métis, said he will move a motion this week to rename Bishop Grandin Boulevard after consulting with members of the Welcoming Winnipeg Committee and Indigenous Advisory Circle.

“While the immeasurable harm caused by residential schools cannot be undone,” Bowman’s motion reads in part, “the truth of what occurred needs to be understood and one measure the City can take to honour that truth is to re-name Bishop Grandin Boulevard.”

The busy east-west artery in south Winnipeg is named after Catholic Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin, who is known for being an architect of the Indian residential school system.

The system that operated for nearly a century was created by Christian churches and the Canadian government to both educate and assimilate Indigenous youth.

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But the recent discovery of 215 graves in Kamloops, B.C., is considered proof of the atrocities that befell many of the 150,000 First Nation, Inuit and Métis children who were taken from their families and forced to attend the schools.

Officials across Canada are looking to rename roads, bridges, buildings and other landmarks.

The Saskatoon Tribal Council is calling for that city to change the name of John A. MacDonald Road because Canada’s first prime minister helped establish residential schools after confederation.

Edmonton city council has voted to remove a mural and rename a railway station that also depicts Grandin.

While in Toronto and Winnipeg, the name of Adolphus Egerton Ryerson could be wiped from a downtown university and early years school, respectively, for the Methodist minister’s role in designing the residential school system.

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Investigative Reporter / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for aptnnews.ca. A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.