A group of residents wants to rename the west pier in Cobourg’s picturesque harbour, arguing the current moniker — Langevin Pier — pays tribute to one of the architects of Canada’s residential school system.
Langevin Pier is named after Hector Louis Langevin, a member of Sir John A. MacDonald’s cabinet and is known as a Father of Confederation.
He was also a key supporter of the residential schools, arguing it was the fastest way to assimilate Indigenous children into Canadian society.
“Maintaining his name as a way of remembering that particular history is actually pretty insulting to Indigenous survivors and their families,” said Cobourg resident Meghan Sheffield.
Sheffield is part of a committee that’s lobbying Cobourg council to strip Langevin’s name from the pier.
She points out that there’s precedent for the move. In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Langevin’s name would be removed from the parliament buildings in Ottawa that house the Prime Minster’s office.
Sheffield’s group will be making a delegation to Cobourg council Oct. 2.
Joining her will be Chief Jim Bob Marsden, Chief of Alderville First Nation.
Marsden said the First Nations community wholeheartedly supports the initiative.
“Hopefully (Cobourg councillors) will agree with Alderville’s Chief and council, and the community as a whole,” he told CHEX News on Thursday.
No new name for the pier has been suggested. Both Sheffield and Marsden said they would like a committee to be tasked with coming up with a new title.