Name change being considered for Winnipeg school named for residential school leader

The Pembina Trails School Division said it is considering changing the name of Ryerson School.

The Pembina Trails School Division is considering changing the name of one of its schools, named after one of the architects of the residential school system.

On Wednesday, the school division released a statement saying a name change consideration for Ryerson School has been placed on the board agenda for June 10, 2021. The school is named after Egerton Ryerson, an architect of Canada’s residential school system.

The school division said it knows the name of a school plays an important role in the community it serves, thanking the neighbours, parents and students who shared their concerns about the name of Ryerson School.

“You have been heard and we will continue to listen,” the statement said.

A number of communities across Canada have been calling for name changes to buildings with namesakes linked to residential schools.

In Winnipeg, there have been calls to change the name of Bishop Grandin Boulevard and Greenway. This is due to Bishop Vital Justin Grandin’s support of the residential school system.

On Wednesday, CTV News Winnipeg reported the Frontier School Division in northern Manitoba is renaming Oscar Blackburn School, which is located in South Indian Lake, Man.

“It was discovered that Oscar Blackburn, who was a well-liked teacher, in his later duties as general merchant of the community helped gather up the First Nation children to send them off to residential school,” said superintendent Reg Klassen in an email.

Klassen said the community, chief and councillors will choose a new name for the school, but that healing needs to occur first.

- With files from CTV’s Charles Lefebvre.