Rename This Park - Ryerson

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The park currently known as Ryerson Park at 565 Woodview Road will be renamed to reflect the City’s current naming policies for City assets. 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 January 2022.

Why are we renaming Ryerson Park?

At the June 16, 2021 meeting of the Halton District School Board (HDSB), trustees unanimously approved a motion to rename Ryerson Public School on Woodview Road in Burlington, in accordance with the Board’s Naming and Renaming Schools Policy and Governance Procedure.

As part of the Board motion, 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. This was done out of respect for Indigenous residents in our community, particularly following the recent discovery of mass graves at former residential schools. Suggestions for indigenous names for the park are welcome.

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. Our indigenous community should enjoy our parks and public spaces without a reminder of this. Renaming our city park is one step we can take toward reconciliation with our indigenous residents.

Name is approved by Burlington City Council on January 18, 2022

The park currently known as Ryerson Park at 565 Woodview Road will be renamed to reflect the City’s current naming policies for City assets. 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 January 2022.

Why are we renaming Ryerson Park?

At the June 16, 2021 meeting of the Halton District School Board (HDSB), trustees unanimously approved a motion to rename Ryerson Public School on Woodview Road in Burlington, in accordance with the Board’s Naming and Renaming Schools Policy and Governance Procedure.

As part of the Board motion, 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. This was done out of respect for Indigenous residents in our community, particularly following the recent discovery of mass graves at former residential schools. Suggestions for indigenous names for the park are welcome.

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. Our indigenous community should enjoy our parks and public spaces without a reminder of this. Renaming our city park is one step we can take toward reconciliation with our indigenous residents.

Name is approved by Burlington City Council on January 18, 2022

  • Burlington City Council approves Sweetgrass Park as the new name for Ryerson Park

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    Burlington City Council has approved the name of Sweetgrass Park to rename Ryerson Park (565 Woodview Rd.) at the Jan. 18, 2022 Council meeting. Sweetgrass is one of the sacred medicines to many First Nations. It is used as a purification medicine in ceremony to purify ourselves and to heal.

    Residents were asked to submit names for consideration that reflected the City’s naming policies for City assets that reflect equity, diversity and inclusion consistent with today’s standards. More than 500 names were submitted.

    A committee made up of City staff, Indigenous leaders and community stakeholders then selected three options from the submitted names and a fourth naming option was added from Indigenous Elder Stephen Paquette (Sweetgrass Park).

    Residents were asked to vote for one of the four options. During the voting phase, 1647 people voted at GetInvolvedBurlington.ca/RenamethisPark. Sweetgrass Park received 40 per cent of the votes.

    The name will be effective immediately. Signage will be updated in the coming weeks.


  • Recommended name going to committee

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    After a three phase, three-month community engagement process the community has expressed two names of preference for the park at 565 Woodview Road, 40% of those that voted preferred Sweetgrass Park and 39% voted Unity Park. Although close and following the voting of the community, suggest that the name of the park as Sweetgrass Park to align the park with the purpose of the plant, as part of the City’s, “to purify ourselves and to heal,” as the City’s part in Truth and Reconciliation.

    Ryerson Park renaming report

  • Naming Update

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    Thank you Burlington residents for all of your suggestions to name this park. More than 500 names were submitted in phase 1.

    The Shortlist Committee made up of City staff, Indigenous Leaders and community stakeholders has considered all the names and chosen three names. A fourth naming option has been added from Indigenous Elder Stephen Paquette: Sweetgrass Park.

    The report with the survey results is going to the January 13, 2022 Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services Committee for discussion. The final decision will be made at the Council meeting on January 18, 2022

    The proposed park names and rationale:

    • Head of the Lake Park: This name was chosen to reflect the name of the current land agreement in place that allows settler communities to occupy the location of the park in question, as per the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
    • Unity Park: When forms of hatred and attempts to divide people are on the rise we need to find ways of expressing what we think is important. Unity means that we embrace our differences, that we value other people's experience and beliefs
    • Truth and Reconciliation Park: To heal as a nation we need to speak the truth and reconcile our relationship with the Indigenous peoples of Canada.
    • Sweetgrass Park: Sweetgrass is used as a purification medicine in ceremony to purify ourselves and to heal.
  • HDSB Board of Trustees select new name for Ryerson Public School

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    Burlington school will now be known as Makwendam Public School.

    At the Nov. 17, 2021 Board meeting, Halton District School Board Trustees selected Makwendam Public School as the new name for Ryerson Public School, located at 565 Woodview Road in Burlington. This name was unanimously supported by all Trustees. The new name will take effect immediately and a plan will be developed to make changes to school signage, website, sports uniforms, etc.

    Read the full media release.

  • Ready, Set, Vote!

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    Thank you to the Burlington community, more than 500 names were submitted in phase 1. The Shortlist Committee consisting of City staff, Indigenous Leaders and community stakeholders has considered all the names and chosen three names. A fourth naming option has been added from Indigenous Elder Stephen Paquette after consulting an Indigenous linguist.

    Vote now for your top choice. Survey closes on November 19 at 11:55 p.m.

  • Date for Voting on Names To Be Determined

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    Thank you to everyone who completed the Ryerson Park renaming survey - over 500 entries were sent in. Additional time is needed to go through the submissions and voting will begin at a later date. Stay tuned to getinvolvedburlington.ca for updates.

  • Name Suggestion Survey is now Closed

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    Thanks to everyone that took the time to suggest names for the park. There were over 500 submissions sent in. A panel will review the names and create a short list, which the public can then vote on starting on September 20.

Page last updated: 18 Jan 2022, 03:58 PM