Iveson calls for immediate name change to Grandin LRT Station, removal of mural in wake of Kamloops residential school discovery

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Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson is calling for a name change to the Grandin LRT Station and removal of a mural depicting the residential school system as soon as possible.

In a statement Thursday morning, Iveson said he will be asking the city to remove reference to Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin in the LRT station and on civic signage and paint orange over the mural as soon as possible. He will bring forward a motion to be voted on by council Monday.

Grandin, who lived in St. Albert, was an advocate for the Indigenous residential school system and lobbied the federal government to invest in the practice of separating children from their families and removing them of their culture. Iveson’s call follows the discovery of 215 children buried at a former Kamloops residential school site last week.

“I agree with residential school survivors, their families, and the thousands of Edmontonians from all walks of life who are calling on the city to address the mural, and remove his name from the LRT station and area,” Iveson said in the statement. “I’m hopeful this action will provide immediate relief as well as offer a clear timeline for when these steps will unfold.”

After all namesakes to Grandin are removed, Iveson said he wants the city to consult with Indigenous communities and an already formed working group on next steps for the mural and to work with the naming committee on a new name for the station and surrounding area that contributes to reconciliation.

Last summer, the Oliver Community League said it would be taking steps to change the name of the central Edmonton neighbourhood named for Frank Oliver. This discussion is still underway and the city’s naming committee is currently reviewing and revising the city’s policy to incorporate guidelines for renaming. This report is scheduled to face council in August.

Iveson said the city is committed to addressing concerns of historical place names in Edmonton and to work together to better reflect the city today.

“Please know that the City of Edmonton remains committed to working with Edmontonians to discuss these concerns and to reconsider place names that cause pain to people or groups in our community,” he said. “I understand time to properly consult and engage with community is needed to make all these changes — however, I hope my motion demonstrates to Indigenous communities, residential school survivors, and allies of reconciliation that their concerns are being heard and acted upon, and so that we can minimize the re-traumatization that takes place as a result of the mural and name.”

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