Sweetgrass Park: Burlington designates new name for Ryerson Park

Burlington city council revealed a new name, Sweetgrass Park, for a city destination once named after an architect of the residential school system in Canada. Google Maps

The city of Burlington, Ont., has renamed a park in its north end that once bore the name of an architect of the residential school system.

Last summer, residents were asked to submit possible names for Ryerson Park on Woodview Road at Rexway Drive, named after Egerton Ryerson.

Of more than public submissions, Burlington council on Tuesday revealed Sweetgrass Park as the new moniker.

“Sweetgrass is one of the sacred medicines to many First Nations. It is used as a purification medicine in ceremony to purify ourselves and to heal,” the city said in an e-mailed statement.

Read more: Burlington asks residents to help rename park named after architect of residential school system

The selection campaign, which started in August 2021, involved city staff, Indigenous leaders and community stakeholders who three options from the submitted names and a fourth added from indigenous elder.

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Over 1,647 people voted through a city website with Sweetgrass Park receiving 40 per cent of the ballots.

Burlington now joins a number of other municipalities across Canada that have changed parks, institutions and other monuments away from names connected with the country’s residential school system.

“The renaming is one more step forward in our healing and learning journey towards Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous residents in our community,” Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said in a release.

The name change is effective immediately. Signage will be updated in the coming weeks.

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

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