Regina councilors push to rename Dewdney Avenue

Regina councilors push to rename Dewdney Avenue

Two councilors are pushing to rename Dewdney Avenue and plan to raise the issue in a motion at Wednesday’s meeting. (File photo 980 CJME)

A call is being made to City Council to change the name of one of Regina’s longest and most recognizable highways.

Ward 3 Councilor Andrew Stevens and Ward 6 Councilor Dan LeBlanc issued notice of a motion they intend to introduce at Wednesday’s council meeting to rename Dewdney Avenue.

The road is named after Edgar Dewdney and councilors say his legacy is detrimental to indigenous people.

The notice described him as “a historical figure who was directly responsible for the development and administration of policies harmful to Indigenous peoples, including the establishment and oversight of residential schools.”

Dewdney, who was born in 1835, served in many political offices, including serving as Indian Commissioner for the Northwest Territories from 1879 to 1888 at the request of John A. Macdonald, presiding over a famine crisis as buffalo herds declined. Dewdney insisted on making Wascana, later renamed Regina, the capital of the Northwest Territories.

Because naming a street after an individual is an act in their honor, both Stevens and LeBlanc said they want the name changed “as soon as possible.”

The name Buffalo Avenue has been proposed as a possible new name for Dewdney Avenue.

In 2021, the council voted to remove Dewdney’s name from what is now called Buffalo Meadows Park and Buffalo Meadows Pool.

Last year, council unanimously agreed to develop an Indigenous framework as a commitment to reconciliation. According to the notice, that framework is not yet developed, but involves centering Indigenous values ​​and priorities in the city’s practices, policies and procedures.

Stevens and LeBlanc added that honoring Edgar Dewdney is “inconsistent” with the commitment to reconciliation.

Changing the names of Regina streets named after controversial figures has been an ongoing discussion in the city for several years.

In 2018, Regina city administrators reviewed recommendations made by the Civic Naming Committee based on a public consultation and online survey, in an attempt to consider new guidelines on street naming and renaming.