With his magical tunes so masterfully executed, it is little wonder why people call Oscar Peterson the greatest jazz pianist ever.
His talent has been celebrated by the world with a multitude of awards and accolades, including eight Grammys, the Order of Canada, and a statue unveiled in Ottawa by Queen Elizabeth II in 2010.
But some say something is missing: recognition from his hometown of Montreal.
“Although a small park has been named in Little Burgundy, we don’t think it rises to the stature and the legend that he was,” said municipal opposition leader Lionel Perez.
Perez says his party will introduce a motion at Montreal City Hall to rename Place des Festivals “Place Oscar Peterson.”
Place des Festivals is located in downtown Montreal and hosts the world’s largest jazz festival.
Oscar Peterson’s widow, Kelly Peterson said the initiative would be a “wonderful” way to honour her late husband’s jazz legacy.
“I also think that because it’s the place where the Montreal Jazz International Festival, that it is appropriate,” Peterson said.
“It would be a great honour I think and more uniting than trying to rename something that’s been already renamed for someone else.”
Back in June, a petition to rename the Lionel Groulx metro station “Oscar Peterson station” gathered more than 26,000 signatures.
Although the city of Montreal and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) denied the request, it did inspire municipal opposition councillors.
“To recognize his greatness and put his name, imprint his name in the geography in this city, I think it’s a great initiative,” said Naveed Hussain, who started the petition.
Montreal mayor Valerie Plante wouldn’t comment on the proposal but says the city has its own plans in the works.
“We’ve been having many conversations with Oscar Peterson’s family because we do want to honour his memory up to his talents and contributions to Montreal,” Plante said.
The motion will be filed on Oct. 19 during Montreal’s city council.