Town of Russell, Ont. approves plan to rededicate its name
(Ian Urbach/CTV News Ottawa)
RUSSELL, ON. -- The town of Russell, Ont. is moving ahead with a motion to rededicate its name.
Town council approved a motion Monday from Russell Mayor Pierre Leroux to find a new namesake for the town.
The move comes after a recent petition called on the eastern Ontario town to change its name because it is named after Peter Russell, a politician who enslaved people in the late 1700s.
Russell, Ont. is not changing its name. Instead, the town will find a new "Russell" after whom to dedicate itself.
Leroux told Newstalk 580 CFRA's "Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron" in June that Peter Russell never even set foot in the area.
"While the town is named after Peter Russell, he actually never stepped foot here and it was actually a clerical error. Two areas of Ontario were supposed to be named and Peter Russell was supposed to be for another part of Ontario. There was a clerical error and they mixed up the areas," said Leroux.
"I'm not trying to take anything away from our history, I'm not trying to wash it away or anything," said Leroux about why he wants to look to rename Russell after someone else.
"I want to take this as a community building event. In this year, in 2020, we’ve been brought forward this information that we have to seriously look at ourselves and as a community we say 'this is not who we are.' And in this next year we make a change and this is why we've chosen this person."
The town will create an equity and inclusion committee to help look for a new namesake.
With files from CTV Ottawa's Josh Pringle.