School board will rename Ryerson school - city will rename the abutting park

By Staff

September 7th, 2021



The Halton District School Board wants ideas from the public on the renaming of Ryerson Public School.

The city wants idea from the public on renaming the park that abuts the school.

Could they not create a joint committee and come up with a single name ?

Not on your life – there is too much political upside for all the politicians to share this one.

The school will be renamed – as will the park that abuts the property.

The decision to dump the name of Egerton Ryerson was done very very quickly – basically on one delegation from an Indigenous parent.

The statue of Ryerson was toppled shortly after it was splattered with paint. The head of the statue ended up on an Indigenous reserve at the end of a pole.

There is tonnes of research on just what Ryerson did and didn’t do but those documents aren’t going to get much attention.

This is classic rush to judgement and lets pile on a good thing.

Community members are encouraged to submit a suggestion for the new name of the school by Sept. 24

In a media release the HDSB said: “Ryerson Public School was named after Egerton Ryerson for his contributions to the Ontario education system, however, Ryerson was also instrumental to the design of Canada’s residential school system.

Students, families and community members are encouraged to submit suggestions for a new name for the school between Sept. 7 – 24, 2021.

The HDSB recognizes the significance of naming a new school as an opportunity to:

• reflect the geography, history, local environment, culture or traditions of the community;
• consider equity, diversity and inclusion in the school community;
• name a renowned person of historical significance to the Halton community, or a real person whose contribution to society or humanity is recognized and valued across Canada.

Suggestions can be made:

• By completing the online form
• By fax — 905-335-4447
• By mail — Communications Dept., Halton District School Board,
PO Box 5005 STN LCD 1, Burlington, ON L7R 3Z2

Suggestions will be accepted until Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

Each name that is submitted will be reviewed by a committee which will include parent/guardian representation. A shortlist of names will be prepared and presented to the Board of Trustees who will select the final name at one of the regularly scheduled Board meetings in November 2021.

The selected name for the school will be announced in a news release and posted on the HDSB website ( and social media.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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5 comments to School board will rename Ryerson school – city will rename the abutting park

  • Diane Knox

    Are the current actions for “Truth and Reconciliation” by Cities, and Boards of Education by Re naming,, Removing, (‘white washing’) etc. achieving the Goal? Or are we hiding the TRUTH of the times ,the flawed and yes horrible consequences of the Past .and thus missing a Golden opportunity to Teach, to Educate our next generation for change? Much better time and money could be spent on updating the curriculum, the reading materials and teaching the Ryerson students and all, about the Person, the times etc.– Old saying- “Those who ignore the past are”.. you all know the rest

  • merkleyblog

    The indigenous community currently has tremendous leverage and perceived public support but their demands should still face the same scrutiny as every other group seeking change. The Ryerson renaming bandwagon is founded on dubious reasoning. Ryerson provided the groundwork for public education system that benefitted most of us older Canadians. The Ontario Normal School which he instituted taught thousands of great teachers, including my wife. If you objectively strip away the adverse implementation of the Indian Residential Schools in that time frame, consider trying to educate a wide spread population of indigenous children who had zero education and skills to be able to survive in the new society of this country. Was there a better model at that time to accomplish this? I doubt it. It was the implementation and staffing of the Ryerson model that failed the test of time.
    Like Henry Dundas and Egerton Ryerson, the history behind their names was bent to serve the purpose of those acting to create a righteous scenario to further their cause.
    With all of the present day problems that our society faces, changing street names and the names on our institutions seems just plain silly and at the end of the day will accomplish little if anything.

    Roy Merkley, Burlington, Ontario

  • Phillip Wooster

    Is this process being done as a result of accurate information? A close friend brought the following letter, published in the Globe and Mail on August 27 to my attention. This author I believe is a member of the Order of Canada and a former NDP MP:

    Re Ryerson University To Drop Name Of Educator Linked To Residential Schools (Aug. 27): For anyone who has read the documents from the time, this is a sad decision, based on ungrounded accusations. Egerton Ryerson supported the proposal of Ojibwa leaders for voluntary, bilingual schools – never the terrible school system instituted by the Canadian government in 1883, after his death.

    Do any Indigenous (or other) students at Ryerson University know that he actually lived with Ojibwa people for a time, learned Ojibway and was given an Ojibway name, “Cheechock” (or Bird on the Wing)? Or that Ryerson helped them improve farming on their land and supported their (unsuccessful) claim for their traditional land at the mouth of the Credit River? Or that that he introduced an Ojibwa chief, Kahkewaquonaby, to the colonial secretary and remained lifelong friends with that chief and other Ojibwa leaders?

    Egerton Ryerson is a convenient scapegoat. It was settlers (our ancestors) – politicians Liberal and Conservative – who brought in that harmful system, supported by ordinary citizens; and made it even worse in the 20th century with mandatory schooling.

    Lynn McDonald Toronto, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

    • Blair Smith

      “Egerton Ryerson is a convenient scapegoat. It was settlers (our ancestors) – politicians Liberal and Conservative – who brought in that harmful system, supported by ordinary citizens; and made it even worse in the 20th century with mandatory schooling.”

      Please lest we forget – also the Catholic Church. There is no room for the church within the educational system, then or now. When will we have the common sense to let faith and education reside in their own separate houses?

  • Penny Hersh

    In the climate we live in I would suggest the name of a tree. Any other name is subject to be changed at the drop of a hat.