Approaching 139 years after his death Egerton Ryerson, the Methodist minister who was the father of the Ontario Public school system will have his name removed from the Burlington School that was named to honour the educator. A nearby park named for Ryerson will likely be renamed as well.
The problem of course, was that in addition to developing the public school system in Ontario, Ryerson was also seen as an architect of the Residential School system that destroyed the culture and in some cases the lives of thousands of aboriginal children.
Depending on public reaction, the HDSB may be presented with other possible school naming issues. It’s Emily Carr school is named for the artist who spent much of the first half of the last century painting and creating ceramics based on west coast aboriginal art; but who is now being re-evaluated for possible cultural appropriation. Then there’s the Craig Kielburger School, named for the co-founder of the We Charities.
The Halton District School Board is renaming Ryerson Public School in Burlington and is seeking suggestions from community members. At the June 16, 2021 meeting of the HDSB, Trustees unanimously approved a motion to rename the school in accordance with the Board’s Naming and Renaming Schools Policy and Governance Procedure.
The elementary school is located at 565 Woodview Road, Burlington. Students, families and community members are encouraged to submit suggestions for a new name for the school between Sept. 7 – 24, 2021.
In a release the HDSB says it recognizes the significance of naming a new school as an opportunity to:
• reflect the geography, history, local environment, culture or traditions of the community;
• consider equity, diversity and inclusion in the school community;
• name a renowned person of historical significance to the Halton community, or a real person whose contribution to society or humanity is recognized and valued across Canada.
Suggestions can be made:
• By completing the online form
• By fax — 905-335-4447
• By mail — Communications Dept., Halton District School Board,
PO Box 5005 STN LCD 1, Burlington, ON L7R 3Z2
Suggestions will be accepted until Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.
Each name that is submitted will be reviewed by a committee which will include parent/guardian representation. A shortlist of names will be prepared and presented to the Board of Trustees who will select the final name at one of the regularly scheduled Board meetings in November 2021. The selected name for the school will be announced in a news release and posted on the HDSB website (www.hdsb.ca) and social media.