Petition calls on town of Russell to change its name
OTTAWA -- There is a growing movement to remove any statues or rename places associated with historical figures who have a racist past.
An online petition is asking to change the name of Russell, the eastern Ontario town located just outside of Ottawa.
"It is time to change the name, once you hear it, you cannot un-hear it," says Denis Agar, calling for the name of his hometown to be changed.
"Our town's name-sake was not only a slave owner, but an advocate for slavery."
Russell is named after Peter Russell. In the late 1700's, he was the Receiver General of Upper Canada, now known as Ontario.
"He's such a grotesque man and I know that he doesn't reflect who we are as Russell," says Agar.
"I found out that there was a conversation about renaming Russell Street in Toronto. I saw the article in the (Toronto) Star, and I was like 'Is this the same Russell? Is this the same Russell of the town that I grew up in?'"
Russell Mayor Pierre Leroux spoke with CTV News Ottawa in a phone interview,
"I'm the first to admit that we should acknowledge our history, most definitely - we put that out there; you know, the name was based on this person, and that's why I'm bringing up this subject at our Monday night council meeting."
Leroux says there would be a monetary cost to changing the name of the town.
"If a significant amount of people who actually reside here in the township, they want to discuss a name change, I'm willing to do that - I think with that, we also have to be willing to discuss the impact of such a change."
Agar says that the name of Russell needs to be changed, "Once you know, you have to act."