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Vancouver’s Crosstown Elementary to keep its name

Won Alexander Cumyow (left) sitting with the Chinese Empire Reform Association which he founded.
Won Alexander Cumyow (left) sitting with the Chinese Empire Reform Association which he founded. City of Vancouver Archives

Its mind is made up, the Vancouver School Board will not be changing the name of Crosstown Elementary.

Trustee Allan Wong put forward a motion on Monday night to see the relatively new school’s name be changed to honour the first Chinese-Canadian born in Canada, Alexander Won Cumyow.

The motion fell by a count of five trustees voting for keeping the current name, three to change it and one abstaining.

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Chair Janet Fraser says the name of the downtown Vancouver elementary school already meant too much to parents and kids.

“They were thinking a lot about what the name Crosstown meant to them and they were thinking of a mascot, they were thinking of a logo, they were thinking of a song for the school. And so the parents, the students and the families felt that this was really part of their identity.”

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Fraser says she is putting forward a new motion to revise naming and renaming policies for schools to become more representative of the multicultural heritage of the city.

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“I think all trustees acknowledge that our school names are not fully representative, and I’d really like our board and our district to do some work to improve that.”

She says the motion will be up for debate at the next meeting in February.

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