Victoria city council to hear arguments for renaming Trutch Street

Victoria city council to hear arguments for renaming Trutch Street

Victoria city councillors are set to hear arguments Thursday night from a group of residents who want to see a small residential street renamed.

Jade Baird, Rachel Dufort, Sicily Fox, and Ashley Yaredic are students at the University of Victoria who have been fighting to rename Trutch Street, gathering signatures from other residents who feel the same due to its namesake’s racist actions.

The street was named after Joseph Trutch following his death in the early 1900s and is the site where his former home — now a heritage building — stands.

RELATED: Petition urges Victoria city councillors to rename Trutch Street

In 1864, Trutch became chief commissioner of lands and works, where he disregarded treaties and displaced Indigenous people throughout the province — often reducing reserves to a fraction of what they were. He later became the province’s first lieutenant-governor when British Columbia joined Confederation in 1871.

In a letter to his family, Trutch once called Indigenous people the “ugliest and laziest creatures” he ever saw. He later described them as “utter savages” living along B.C.’s coast.

Jade Baird said the time has come to rid the street of its current name.

“Trutch was one of the most racist individuals in Victoria’s colonial history,” said Baird. “He turned that racism into policy and removed Indigenous people from their lands. He is such an egregious figure in colonial history.”

A public hearing that focused on whether the city should axe the Trutch name from the street was held in 2018. It came six months after a University of Victoria student successfully petitioned the school to remove the name of Sir Joseph William Trutch from a residential building on campus.

UVic professor Reuben Rose-Redwood, who spearheaded the 2018 campaign, will also present to city council on why he feels the street should be renamed.

RELATED: UVic professor, student among those calling for Trutch Street to be renamed

On Thursday night, a petition and a presentation on why Trutch Street should be renamed will go before city council.

Baird says her hope is that a councillor will put forward a motion to remove the street name and take further steps to collaborate with local First Nations to determine a new name.

“That would be ideal,” she said.

The petition to rename Trutch Street had collected 1,372 signatures as of Thursday morning.

Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod
Jeff LawrenceJeff Lawrence

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