Halifax starts process to rename street named after city's founder

The process is underway to rename Cornwallis Street in Halifax.

It is a typical city street, with a mix of residential and commercial properties. It's named after the founder of Halifax, but the city and the task force on the commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the recognition and commemoration of Indigenous history has started the process of finding a new name for the street.

"I think it's the last thing in Halifax, in the HRM, that's named after Cornwallis," said Daniel Paul, a Mi'kmaw elder and historian.

Paul wrote a book about Cornwallis' decisions and policies toward Indigenous people and the bounty he placed on Mi'kmaw scalps.

The city removed a statue of Cornwallis in January 2018. Paul says renaming the street is the next step.

"It shows that finally, Nova Scotia, is looking at history as it transpired and not the fairy tale version that passed for history for centuries here," Paul said.

Residents are invited to submit suggestions for the new street name. From there, city officials will narrow down the possibilities and the public will be asked to vote on the final name.

"All new name suggestions will be reviewed in accordance with the civic addressing bylaw it will be vetted based on appropriateness, cultural significance, diversity and originality," said Klara Meedler, an HRM public affairs advisor.

Eleanor Hannan and Adam Pye are opening a new coffee shop on the street and they're all for a new address.

"I'm actually thrilled that they are starting the process of changing the street name because it's a mar," Hannam said. "Yeah, I think it's about time."

Historian Blair Beed however isn't in favour of a name change.

"I don't think removing his name and the statue is the solution, because then it's forgotten history," Beed said. "We really want to remember history, we have to put it up, and we have to put both pieces of history together.

The new street name will come into effect nine months after getting final approval from council.

Phase 1 of this plan, which is to collect suggestions for a new name for the street, opened Monday and runs until Nov. 12.