6 comments

  1. I think you’re overstating the case for Wellington. The fact is, the Parliament and Supreme Court of Canada are both located on a street named after a British guy that most Canadians couldn’t tell you a word about. Meanwhile, Cartier and Macdonald are quiet sidestreets in a residential neighborhood. Both are certainly nice, but hardly deserving of the two men who essentially shaped Canada.

    So that’s why I’m firmly in favour of renaming Wellington: John A. Macdonald is known and well-regarded by Canadians from coast-to-coast, and Ottawa’s most iconic street should be named after such a figure. Not a British figure that, at best, had an arm’s length involvement in the founding of Ottawa. It only makes sense.

  2. Sir John A said “A British subject I was born, a British subject I shall die”. He would have been appalled by the idea of erasing British history from the capital of the first Dominion. Renaming Wellington is like putting up a unilingual English plaque commemorating Trudeau — it shows a deep ignorance of the great Canadian statesman, and of Canadian history.

  3. I am also firmly in favour of renaming Wellington.
    The fact that there is an existing MacDonald Street completely misses the point (and it’s somewhat shocking that the Macdonald-Cartier Society thinks that a correction of that spelling of that street somehow addresses the issue at hand). As important a role that Wellington may have played in an aspect of Canada’s history, the street on which Parliament Hill is located should be named after a Canadian. Taking that position is not a case of “historical amnesia”, as Mr. Giulea suggests – one can value Wellington’s contribution to this city and still support the renaming of one of Ottawa’s most important thoroughfares. Wellington’s contribution can be recognized elsewhere – perhaps MacDonald Street should be renamed after the Duke of Wellington?

  4. I’ve searched my beliefs to see if I care which dead British colonialist the street is named for, and after an exhaustive interrogation the answer appears to be “not in the slightest”.

    If they *are* going to re-name, I think naming it after the Algonquin first nation from whom our forebearers merrily stole the whole Ottawa valley be a long-overdue gesture (as would be finally paying them for the unceded land we are all on, for that matter).

    I’m not holding my breath for that, obviously, so, since I otherwise couldn’t care less, I’d say leave it status quo and let the maps and postal addresses and letterhead and business cards etc etc all stay the same. Pointless to go through the hassle for a completely empty gesture liking swapping one dead Britisher for another, IMHO.

  5. Wellington Street West is nowhere near the canal. The key portion of Wellington St runs right up to the Rideau Canal.

    I highly recommend reading the historical brief describing the highly significant personal support of the Duke of Wellington in the building of the Rideau Canal:

    The Duke of Wellington and the Rideau Canal
    http://savewellingtonst.ca/?page_id=12

    Where it not of the Duke, there would not have been any Canal.
    Without the Canal, Bytown/Ottawa would not have become our nation’s capital.
    Furthermore, Wellington Street was one of the two original streets named in 1826 by Colonel By to honour his boss and Rideau Street after the Canal.

    The low literacy level and ignorance among young Canadians and general public is not a very strong argument to rename Ottawa’s main street to honour Sir John A Macdonald who already has a street named in his honour.

    We must remember that we are sitting on the shoulders of giants.
    The Duke of Wellington was the victorious general in the Battle of Waterloo.
    It was after the War of 1812 and the battle concluded that the British sent additional troops to defend the colonies.

    Would anyone with a sane mind ever suggest to rename the Champs-Élysées ? Of course not !

    Cartier St and Macdonald St may not be high-traffic arteries. However, they are within a mile of Parliament Hill and Cartier St leads directly to City Hall.

    To MG Stewart
    “perhaps MacDonald Street should be renamed after the Duke of Wellington?”

    Your suggestion makes no sense.
    MacDonald Street and Cartier Street are parallel street that were named after the two leading Fathers of Confederation.

    What needs to be done is outlined in the campaign’s press release:
    – Correct the spelling mistake of MacDonald St and rename it to to Sir John A Macdonald St
    – To maintain symmetry with its parallel street, rename Cartier St to Sir George-E. Cartier St.

    If people want to have more monuments in honour of Sir John A Macdonald, there are several other ways that can be achieved but leave Wellington Street alone, it is the site of over three million tourists every year.

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