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City of Dryden takes step to rename Colonization Avenue

The community will be asked for input before a short list of names is developed.
Colonization Ave
Colonization Avenue in Dryden is expected to get a new name this year (Google Street View)

DRYDEN, Ont. — City council in Dryden is taking action on a proposal to find a new name for a local road because its current name is considered hurtful to Indigenous people.

The Dryden Working Circle, a group comprised of city and First Nations representatives, submitted an official request to council Monday night to rename Colonization Avenue.

Councillors accepted the application and directed municipal staff to prepare a public notice seeking suggestions for a new name over a period of 60 days.

The working circle will conduct a public education campaign that includes a request for nominations, and will submit a short list for council's consideration.

In a letter to the community, the group acknowledged that the name change has elicited strong reactions from local residents, both for and against.

However, it points out that, to many Indigenous people, the word "colonization" symbolizes historical experiences that were "less than positive" and have ongoing impacts up to the present time.

"As we move forward, we believe we need to remove monikers that constantly remind people of a painful past and instead, work together on initiatives that bring people together," the letter states.

It adds that having community members help select a new name for Colonization Avenue may be a good starting point.

The Town of Fort Frances continues to consider a proposal to rename Colonization Road.