You want reconciliation? Rename Vancouver, says local historian


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A local historian says the planned removal of a John A. Macdonald statue in front of Victoria City Hall is a good move towards reconciliation, and if Vancouver is serious about repairing relations with indigenous communities, he says we should look at taking it a step further.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says the removal of the statue is coming while the city, the Nations and the wider community grapple with Macdonald’s complex history as both the first Prime Minister of Canada and a leader of violence against Indigenous Peoples.

Civic historian John Atkin says Vancouver has made some good steps towards reconciliation, like adding some Indigenous names to different spots around the city.

He says steps like that, along with the Victoria statue removal, are good teaching moments.

“You know we’ve had our sort of celebration of Macdonald and we’ve hit 150th anniversary of Confederation and maybe it’s now time to take stock that there is the other side to the story,” he says.

RELATED: Statue of John A. Macdonald to be removed from Victoria City Hall

But, if we want real reconciliation he says cities like Vancouver should be looking at bigger gestures, like perhaps one day renaming the City of Vancouver.

“You know it sounds a bit daft but at the same time, if you make small gestures they don’t generally add up to enough,” Atkin says.

He says hopefully this is only the beginning and the movement will continue to grow.

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