queen victoria public school toronto

Toronto high school might be renamed after Michelle Obama

The latest thing people want to rename in Toronto is Queen Victoria Public School, and the shortlist of potential alternative names includes Michelle Obama.

Other names on the shortlist are Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott, Dr. Rita Cox, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and Minogi - It Grows Well.

Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott was born and died in Toronto and was the first Black Canadian to be licenced as a physician. Dr. Rita Cox is a professional librarian and activist who is considered a leader in Black and Caribbean community, a fascinating storyteller and all-around icon. Minogi is an Ojibwe word/concept meaning "grows well."

The names were compiled into a shortlist by a renaming committee based on suggestions submitted by the Queen Victoria community.

Suggestions were submitted through a Google form with a deadline at the end of January, and criteria for suggestions included commemorating Parkdale's history, reflecting Parkdale's strengths, representing the school's commitment to anti-opression, exemplifying leadership at any level and honouring Indigenous, Black and racialized people. Politician currently in office were automatically excluded.

An exemplification of leadership could be inspired by contributions on a local or international level, so that might be why Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States, is an option.

Parents had made a request the name be changed on behalf of the school community, with TDSB Trustees passing a motion to form the renaming committee in spring 2021.

Composed of composed of students, staff, parents/guardians, members of the Black Student Success Committee, QV school council members and Parkdale community members, the committee was formed in October 2021.

The shortlisted names will be discussed in a virtual town hall on Feb. 24. A Google form will once again be used for people to register to be a speaker by Feb. 22 at noon.

Each speaker will have a set time to share their thoughts on why just one of the five names should be the pick for renaming Queen Victoria.

Black staff members at Queen Victoria Public School were targeted in 2020 by a threatening anonymous letter. The name change is also part of a TDSB motion to review school names city-wide to better reflect Toronto's diversity.

It might be refreshing to have a Michelle Obama Public School here in Toronto, as we've probably got enough stuff named for Queen Victoria by now.

Lead photo by

Toronto District School Board

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