In a unanimous decision, the city council has rejected the proposal to rename a newly designed section of the former Bishop Grandin Boulevard to a non-Abinojii Mikanah name. Despite a collective vote, the issue ignited a robust debate, with a city councilor countering criticism by declining the stereotypical white male label.
Councilors Russ Wyatt of Transcona and Ross Eadie of Mynarksi initially suggested the amendment earlier this month. They proposed the newly christened section of the former Bishop Grandin Boulevard, coursing east of Lagimodiere, be named Edward Schreyer Parkway South, to honor the past Manitoba Premier Edward Schreyer.
This proposal elicited strong disagreement from Manitoba’s Indigenous community despite the council renaming the Bishop Grandin Boulevard stretch to Abinojii Mikanah about eight months prior. Abinojii Mikanah translates to ‘Children’s Way’ in Ojibway, serving as a commemoration to survivors of the residential school system, a project associated with the Roman Catholic Bishop Justin Grandin.
Among the objectors, Kate Kehler from the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg drew attention to the broader issue the proposal signified. “This motion indicates a continued lack of understanding of the profound shift required in thinking if we, as a city, plan to make notable advancement on Truth and Reconciliation,” she remarked.
Wyatt acknowledged the disagreement and stressed his proposal was not meant to undermine Abinojii Mikanah’s renaming. However, he firmly asserted that the road should never have received the Bishop Grandin designation. Rather he pointed out that it was part of a long-term plan for a Transcona corridor. Had he been in the previous council term, he claimed he would not have assented to the name Bishop Grandin.
However, the council suggested that multiple roads within Wyatt’s ward could be renamed to memorialize Edward Schreyer. In response, Councilor Eadie countered the opposition avalanche, asserting that the pushback was based on unfounded assumptions about his views.
Ultimately, the council stood united in declining the renaming proposition. Therefore, the new stretch will retain the name Abinojii Mikanah, honoring its original intent to respect the history and struggles of Indigenous peoples.