Should Vancouver consider renaming streets or properties to reflect the diversity of its residents or indigenous history? That’s one option a Vancouver City Councillor wants to look at as Canada marks its 150th anniversary.
“We have a 150+,” says Andrea Reimer of the city’s own approach to the country’s ‘birthday.’
“It’s a deliberate strategy to look at this from a different lens. Yes there’s 150 years that are worth noting and thinking about, but there’s also many thousands of years before that.”
Reimer is proposing the city spend the rest of the year mulling over a “150+ naming project,” which she says would seek to address the lack of diversity in the way places in the city are currently named.
“We were a fast growing city 130 years ago, we named all the names in a pretty short period of time, and they don’t necessarily reflect all of the contributions that various communities have made to the city,” Reimer says.
“We also have an issue where we have indigenous place names that were on the land that got removed. And I think we’re at a place in our history where people are talking about reconciliation and how we can get some of those place names back onto the land.”
Some of the ideas on the table include reviving culturally important indigenous place names and naming currently un-named properties to better reflect the contribution of women and minorities.
Reimer says the so-called “West Building” at City Hall is an example of something that could get the latter treatment.
Reimer says while she’s not advocating renaming the city’s streets or bridges, it is time to have the conversation about the conditions under which that could be appropriate.
“There’s many people aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike that would like to see a broader reflection of the history of this place. But at the same time, don’t want to discount the contributions of the people whose names are reflected right now.”
If approved, the project would only look at buildings, streets, and city properties – as Council lacks jurisdiction over parks, schools, and community centres.
The idea goes before Council Tuesday.