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Ryerson Elementary School to undergo name change due to residential school connections: division

A display in support of residential school survivors outside Winnipeg's Ryerson School this summer.
A display in support of residential school survivors outside Winnipeg's Ryerson School this summer. Twitter / Ryerson Elementary

The Pembina Trails School Division is changing the name of Ryerson Elementary School and looking for community recommendations for a new name.

The Winnipeg elementary school was named in 1972 for Egerton Ryerson, an educator and minister whose work was instrumental in creating Canada’s residential school system.

Superintendent Ted Fransen said it’s the division’s moral and civic duty to change the name.

“The children in the residential schools had suffered so horribly and we as a nation had turned a blind eye to it. I honestly don’t know how much more horrific it can be,” Fransen said.

“Names matter and if we are going to expect our students to remember the name of their school and to live into the name of the school, we better take a pretty good look at what the name of this school is.”

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Read more: Plans in the works for memorial at former Winnipeg residential school

On top of the move to rename the school, Pembina Trails will also be incorporating the “what’s in a name?” theme to curricula across the division.

They’ve emailed all households in the division, as well as putting out calls on social media and a section of their website to solicit suggestions for a new name.

In August, the board of governors of Ryerson University in Toronto approved changing that school’s name, and a push to rename other buildings and landmarks with connections to the residential school system — including Bishop Grandin Boulevard in Winnipeg — have intensified since discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential schools across the country.

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Members of the public can click here to offer their suggestions for a new name for Ryerson Elementary School.

Click to play video: 'Calls to change name of Bishop Grandin Boulevard increase in wake of B.C. discovery' Calls to change name of Bishop Grandin Boulevard increase in wake of B.C. discovery
Calls to change name of Bishop Grandin Boulevard increase in wake of B.C. discovery – Jun 1, 2021

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