January 19, 2023
The Board of Directors of the NCC voted today to rename the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway on the basis of an Indigenous naming and engagement exercise, reflecting the longstanding and important relationship of the Algonquin Nation to the Ottawa River along which the Parkway runs.
The Indigenous naming and engagement exercise is aligned with the principles of the new NCC Toponymy Policy and consistent with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action related to language, culture and commemoration. The new name of the Parkway will be determined by the board of directors at its June 2023 meeting following consultations with Indigenous partners. The renaming exercise will also include opportunities for the gathering of oral histories.
Informed by the advice of the Advisory Committee on Toponymy (ACT), established in 2022, this renaming approach will be anchored in the perspective of honouring the profound significance of the river, shoreline and landscape to Indigenous peoples — specifically the Algonquin Nation — who had formally requested the NCC consider renaming the Parkway. Other considerations include the existence of many other place names of Canada’s first Prime Minister in the National Capital Region, as well as the fact that the original name of the Parkway referred to its physical relationship with the river.
- Winter 2023: Indigenous engagement on naming suggestions and Advisory Committee on Toponymy meeting.
- Spring 2023: Public engagement activities, Indigenous engagement and selection of new name.
- June 2023: Name recommendation to the NCC board of directors for decision.
- Fall 2023: Unveiling of new signage along Parkway and final report summarizing the engagement process.
To ensure the capital region reflects the social and cultural diversity of Canada, the NCC will build on this and other recent initiatives to continue to engage with a variety of ethnocultural group representatives to further develop a toponomy workplan for its assets.
- In April 2022, the NCC introduced an updated Toponymy Policy to its board of directors. The policy aims to better guide the choice of names for the lands and assets under NCC responsibility and provides a framework that will enable the NCC to reflect the heritage, cultural, ethnic and gender diversity of the National Capital Region.
- The NCC’s Advisory Committee on Toponymy (ACT) is responsible for reviewing proposals for the naming or renaming of NCC-managed assets and may also be asked to provide advice on other matters related to toponymy.
- Membership of the ACT was finalized in August 2022, and the committee held its first meeting on September 13, 2022, and its second meeting on November 29, 2022.
“Indigenous languages and place names carry stories, cultural references and the possibility for a deeper connection to the landscape and history that shapes our region. The NCC is committed to recognizing and highlighting Indigenous culture and heritage, particularly the Algonquin Nation as the host nation of the National Capital Region.”
- Tobi Nussbaum, Chief Executive Officer, National Capital Commission
NCC Media Relations