His statue in Toronto has been toppled, spray painted and beheaded and now the park currently known as (Egerton) Ryerson Park at 565 Woodview Rd. will be renamed. Residents are invited to submit suggestions for a new name by clicking GetInvolvedBurlington.ca/RenamethisPark. In a release the City of Burlington stipulates, “the new name must reflect equity, diversity and inclusion consistent with today’s standards.” Staff will take the suggestions submitted and report back to committee with a recommendation for a new name by November 2021.
In June, Halton District School Board (HDSB), trustees unanimously approved a motion to rename Ryerson Public School, also on Woodview Road
The Chair of the Board sent a letter to inform the City of this decision. Burlington City Council then unanimously voted to rename Ryerson Park, saying this was done out of respect for Indigenous residents in our community, particularly following the recent discovery mass graves at former residential schools.
In a release today Burlington states, “Burlington’s Ryerson Public School, and adjacent Ryerson Park, are named after Egerton Ryerson for his contributions to the Ontario education system, however, Ryerson was also instrumental in the design of Canada’s residential school system. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded this assimilation amounted to the genocide of Indigenous people.
Commented Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, “there have been growing calls from within our community, including from Indigenous residents, to remove Ryerson’s name from public spaces such as parks and schools. Indigenous community members need to enjoy these spaces without a reminder of one of the architects of the residential school system and the legacy of harm it created for their people. Renaming our city park is one step we can take toward reconciliation with local Indigenous residents.”
Anyone contemplating naming the park after Joseph Brant, may want to pause. There has arisen a persistent social media campaign pointing out that Brant owned a black slave–something that Henry Dundas, for whatever faults he may have had-did not do.