Bid to change slavery-related name of Plantation Road going to council

Lyla Wheeler is seen in London, Ont. on Thursday, June 11, 2020. She wants the name of Plantation Road changed. (Celine Zadorsky / CTV London)

Backed by a city councillor, a London girl’s efforts to change the name of Plantation Road will be discussed at city hall.

Ward 12 Councillor Elizabeth Peloza has sent a letter to the Civic Works Committee calling for a review of city hall’s bylaws related to street names.

“In support of the municipal council’s commitment to eradicate anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and people of colour oppression and to ensure our own actions reflect our words,” reads Peloza’s letter.

In June, 10-year-old Lyla Wheeler told CTV News the street name in her Oakridge neighbourhood needs to change because of its ties to slavery.

“Most plantations did have slaves, and if they didn’t pick 200 pounds of cotton, indigo or rice, they would get whipped,” Wheeler explained at the time.

Her online petition has gathered more than 4,000 signatures.

Peloza’s letter requests the review specifically include the concerns expressed in Wheeler’s petition, “Recognizing historically, the word ‘Plantation’ has a strong correlation to slavery, oppression and racism.”

In a separate letter supporting Peloza’s motion, the African Canadian Federation of London and Area (ACFOLA) backs a, “comprehensive policy which will allow the renaming of streets that bring back the ugly face of the past which treated Black people inhumanely.”

ACFOLA adds it would like the name of Plantation Road changed.

Peloza also seeks to have staff establish a list of potential street names that reflect, “the contribution London’s Historic Black Families, Indigenous communities and people of colour.”

The letter will be discussed by the committee on Sept. 22.

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