A Request to rename Langevin Avenue
In response to an inquiry from a Langevin Ave resident in 2018, and in the spirit of reconciliation, former Rideau-Rockcliffe Councillor Tobi Nussbaum raised the issue of renaming Langevin Avenue with City of Ottawa staff.
Langevin Avenue was named after Hector-Louis Langevin, one of the “founding Fathers of the Confederation” and Member of Parliament from the 1860s to 1880s. Langevin is considered a key ‘architect’ of the residential school system. These schools forcibly removed Indigenous children from their families and undermined Indigenous identity and culture. The residential school system has contributed to a general loss of language and culture and disrupted families for generations. Langevin is quoted as saying:
“In order to educate the children properly we must separate them from their families. Some people may say that this is hard but if we want to civilize them we must do that.”
The Option of Renaming as a Gesture of Reconciliation
Renaming public spaces respects the Principles of Reconciliation, as laid out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) whose mandate is to educate Canadians on the impacts of residential schools. Across Canada, the public sector is engaging in renaming landmarks as a gesture of reconciliation. In January 2017, Calgary City Council approved the renaming of Langevin Bridge to Reconciliation Bridge. In 2017, the Prime Minister approved the renaming of Langevin Block to the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council.
City of Ottawa Commitment to Reconciliation
Since 2007, the City of Ottawa has worked alongside Indigenous community partners to identify, prioritize and improve City services delivered to Indigenous people in Ottawa. The Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition (OAC) is a formal partner in this work. Comprised of leaders from local Indigenous service organizations, the OAC advocates to all levels of government, while raising awareness on urban Aboriginal issues in Ottawa.
Resident Engagement and Current Status
On September 26, 2018, at an Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition community forum the City of Ottawa provided an update on reconciliation efforts and introduced the Councillor’s request to explore a name change.
On February 21, 2019, Councillor Nussbaum’s office arranged a meeting for Langevin Avenue residents to follow-up on their request. Attendees of this meeting asked for more discussion with a broader segment of the Lindenlea community. The next steps in this process were delayed due to various factors, including the municipal by-election in April 2019, when a new councillor was elected for Rideau-Rockcliffe.
Councillor Rawlson King, recently named by Council as the Liaison for Anti-Racism and Ethnocultural Affairs, has confirmed his support for moving forward with the renaming of Langevin Avenue. As such, we are reaching out to residents to refresh the engagement process.
During the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition Community Forum, held on September 26, 2018 attendees were asked to provide name suggestions on a possible name change, and the top three suggestions were as follows:
1. Commanda Way
William Commanda (1913-2011) Algonquin elder, former Chief of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, lifelong advocate and role model. He spent years advocating forgiveness and reconciliation. Born in 1913, at Kitigan Zibi reserve near Ottawa, Commanda ("Morning Star") was a guide, trapper and expert maker of birchbark canoes, as well as being chief of his community from 1951-1970. In his long life, he witnessed the tyranny of Indian Affairs agents, the loss of native lands, the trauma of residential schools as well as other colonial oppressions imposed on his people. He was carrier of the sacred wampum belts of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation and was a wise and gifted traditional knowledge keeper. He promoted peace, harmony and racial equality for all people through his vision and work: the Circle of all Nations.
2. Wabano Way
Wabano is the Ojibwe word meaning 'new beginnings'. The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health is an Aboriginal Health Access Centre located at 299 Montreal Road in Ottawa. Each year, Wabano provides professional services and cultural events to over 15,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people – opening their doors to serve and build capacity in the entire community.
3. Anishinaabe Mikan
Anishinaabe (plural: Anishinaabeg) is the word for 'original person'. It is used by several culturally related Indigenous including the Odawa, Saulteaux, Ojibwe (including Mississaugas), Potawatomi, Oji-Cree, and Algonquin peoples, but may have different spellings including Anishinawbe or Nishnawbe. Mikan is Algonquin word for road.
With a desire to collaborate on a shared journey of reconciliation, we invite you to be part of the process. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, in-person consultations are not currently possible.
Please see the below links for a participation survey and more information for residents on Langevin Ave.