Proposed renaming of Bishop Grandin clears committee, going to city council for vote

The renaming of several Winnipeg roadways that get their namesake from a bishop remembered as one of the architects of the residential school system cleared another hurdle Monday.

At Monday’s executive policy committee meeting, the mayor and his inner circle voted 5-1 in favour of potential name changes to Bishop Grandin Boulevard, Bishop Grandin Trail and Grandin Street.

Bishop Vital Justin Grandin, the namesake of the roads, was known for advocating on behalf of Métis people and defending French-language rights in Western Canada, but also for being a supporter of the residential school system.

“I’ve felt my grandparents’ pain and I have felt my own pain. My children, even though they didn’t go to school in a residential school or day school, felt my pain. They lived the after-effects of my trauma,” explained Elder Joan Winning, a residential and day school survivor who spoke at Monday’s meeting.

“Two of my aunts I never had a chance to meet because they were taken and never returned home. To this day, we don’t know what happened to them.”

If passed, Bishop Grandin Boulevard would turn into Abinojii Mikanah, which translates to Children’s Road in Ojibway and Cree.

Bishop Grandin Trail would also change to Awasisak Mēskanow and Grandin Street would switch to Taapweewin Way.

The names were picked by an Indigenous knowledge naming circle, comprised of 12 Indigenous Elders, residential school survivors, and knowledge keepers.

Winning said the renaming would be a big step in reconciliation.

“What we are wanting to do is honour all the children, survivors that came before us, the children that never made it home,” she said.

When thanking the two Elders who spoke at the meeting, Councillor Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) said she hoped the motion would pass unanimously.

Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) was the lone vote against the potential name change.

The motion now goes to council on March 23 for a final vote.

– With files from CTV’s Katherine Dow

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