A former Vancouver School Board trustee is panning the name choice for Vancouver’s newest school.
Earlier today, the new primary school at Abbott and Expo Boulevard was named Crosstown Elementary.
The new elementary school is located in the Crosstown neighbourhood, which sits right on the edge of Vancouver’s Chinatown.
The first ever person born in Canada of Chinese descent, Won Alexander Cumyow, was also one of the names being considered – and the better choice, according to ex-trustee Patti Bacchus.
Bacchus says she spoke with Cumyow’s great-granddaughter Tiffany Dowd about her great-grandfather’s legacy prior to the name announcement.
“He came to Vancouver and had ten children who he taught music to, who all went on to become professionals, and who helped Chinese Canadians integrate into Vancouver.”
Cumyow also voted for the first time in the 1890 election before Chinese Canadians were stripped of their voting rights.
Flash forward to the response from Bacchus this evening, saying the district missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to name a brand new school.
“We don’t build them very often in Vancouver any more. A city where we have so many schools that are named after British royalty or military generals, sirs, largely white males. This was an opportunity, I think, to recognize the rich history of Vancouver’s Chinatown.”
As for the name Crosstown, she thinks it means nothing.
“I don’t know what Crosstown even means or refers to. It sounds like something that you would name a mini mall or condo development, and it really ignores the history of Vancouver that I think is so important for students to learn about.”
For now, Bacchus is hoping there’s someway the board can reconsider the decision.
Once the new school is in operation the naming committee will reassemble to look at giving it a dual Aboriginal name, in consultation from the indigenous community.
Story by Trevor Knapp