The Halifax park that once housed a contentious statue depicting the city’s founder officially has a new name.
The former Cornwallis Park — named for Edward Cornwallis, who was known to have put a bounty on Mi’kmaq scalps in 1749 while serving as the governor of Nova Scotia — is now known as Peace and Friendship Park, in reference to the Peace and Friendship Treaties between the Mi’kmaq and the British Crown.
The Cornwallis statue was removed from the park in early 2018 and a task force was struck later that year to review and advise regional council on how to commemorate the controversial historical figure.
Renaming the park in honour of the treaties was one of the task force’s recommendations, which was accepted by council in July 2020.
The new name came after Halifax regional council approved changes on Tuesday that would allow for more flexibility for naming things like parks, streets, buildings, and boats.
Previously, Administrative Order 46, respecting asset naming policies, didn’t allow for renaming commemorative assets of a person who is no longer living, so council voted to change that on Tuesday.
“By approving the recommendations from the Task Force, Regional Council has confirmed that they do not wish to commemorate assets with names that are no longer in keeping with the values of the Municipality and its citizens,” read the report from the council meeting.
Council also agreed to amend Administrative Order 29, respecting civic addressing, to allow council to rename streets — such as Cornwallis Street — and “consider other similar renaming requests in the future.” The city plans to hold public consultations for renaming that street.
The amendments to that order will also allow the use of apostrophes in street names to allow them to accurately spell names in the Mi’kmaw language.
While there are costs associated with renaming streets and parks, mainly related to replacing signs, the report said those costs can be accommodated within the existing the 2021-22 operating budget.
The city’s chief administrative officer is working on an information report providing updates on all 20 of the recommendations made by the Cornwallis commemoration task force. It’s expected to be provided to council this month or next.