Edmonton's Oliver Square changes name after community consultation

·1 min read
The central Edmonton retail hub along 104th Avenue will now be known as Unity Square, with signage having already been replaced this weekend. (John Shyptika/CBC - image credit)
The central Edmonton retail hub along 104th Avenue will now be known as Unity Square, with signage having already been replaced this weekend. (John Shyptika/CBC - image credit)

Oliver Square has undergone a name change following consultation with the community.

The central Edmonton retail hub along 104th Avenue will now be known as Unity Square, with signage having already been replaced this weekend.

A mailer set to go out to the public was provided to CBC News by Toronto-based BentallGreenOak. It said the commercial real estate company had met with local business owners and community leaders to help find a name better aligned with its values.

"Welcome to Unity Square, where the awesome power of community connects," it reads.

The mailer said the company supports the work of the Oliver Community League as it works toward changing the title of the neighbourhood, named for Frank Oliver.

A member of Parliament and federal minister first elected to office in 1883, Oliver is known for drafting discriminatory legislation, including policies that pushed Indigenous people off their traditional lands.

He was instrumental in shaping Canada's Immigration Act of 1906 and subsequent policies which restricted immigration based on ethnic origin. He also wrote an order-in-council to bar Black immigrants fleeing persecution in the American South from entering Canada.

In June, the community league announced plans to hire an outside consultant to lead community consultations to help find a new name for the central Edmonton neighbourhood, one of Edmonton's oldest and most populous.

Efforts to remove Oliver's name from the neighbourhood have been ongoing since last summer when the Oliver Community Renaming Project was announced and #UncoverOliver campaign was launched.

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