Makwendam new name for former Ryerson school in Burlington

Ryerson public School on Woodview Road in Burlington, Ontario. Google Maps

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) selected a new name for what will soon become the former Ryerson Public School in Burlington, Ont.

Trustees unanimously approved a change to Makwendam Public School in a board meeting on Wednesday night for the facility on Woodview Road.

“The new name will take effect immediately and a plan will be developed to make changes to school signage, website, sports uniforms, etc.,” said HDSB chair Andréa Grebenc in a release on Thursday.

The name “Makwendam” (pronounced muck-kwen-dum) is means “to remember” in the Anishinaabemowin language.

The change was in response to calls across Ontario to remove the Ryerson name from a number of public buildings and institutions.

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Ryerson Public School was named after Egerton Ryerson, an educator and Methodist minister from the early 1800s, who was instrumental in designing Canada’s residential school system.

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded this assimilation amounted to the genocide of Indigenous Peoples.

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The Burlington learning facility was one of at least five schools in the GTHA that shared the now controversial name.

After receiving formal requests to remove the name from the school, the HDSB begin a campaign in September to allow parents, guardians, students and community members to provide their input.

In June, Hamilton’s public school board (HWDSB) voted unanimously to rename Ryerson Elementary School on Robinson Street in the wake of the discovery of what are believed to be the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

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One of the most notable institutions bearing the name, Ryerson University, saw its board of directors vote in favour of a change.

The decision came following demonstrations in June at the Toronto school in which a statue of the former educator was toppled and its head turned up at 1492 Land Back Lane in Caledonia.

No date has been set for the change as a survey asking what the new name could be is before the public until Dec. 7.




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