A street in urban Victoria is about to go through a name change because of its past heritage.
Trutch Street in Victoria is just two blocks in length and in the middle of a leafy urban neighbourhood.
Now, Victoria’s mayor, Lisa Helps, wants to change its name.
“What we’re proposing is to name it ‘Truth Street’. Just remove the ‘C’ and call it ‘Truth Street’.”
The street is named after Sir Joseph Trutch, B.C.’s first lieutenant governor, and he played a key role in cutting the size of First Nations reserves granted under the Douglas Treaties and it’s these actions that have prompted the proposed name change.
The renaming of the street is symbolic and significant, according to some, as many of Victoria’s streets come with a similar history that started more than 100 years ago during Queen Victoria’s reign.
“I think the case of Trutch Street is a textbook example of a street that deserves to be renamed,” said Reuben Rose-Redwood, a Professor of Geography and Director of the Critical Geographies Research Lab at the University of Victoria. “Because it bestows honour on a historical figure whose racist views were extreme, even for his own time.”
Another example is Victoria’s Begbie Street, named after Judge Begbie who was known as the hanging judge and ordered the executions of the Tsilhqot’in chiefs in 1864 and 1865.
Helps said this change to one small street is enough to make a difference.
“These are small, symbolic things we can do and we should do them, and we should do this quickly so truth a street in Fairfield sooner than one would think,” said Helps.
Students at the University of Victoria have advocated for a name change since 2017.
Jade Baird said the change is good news.
“As long as our first nations are in support of that, and that’s what they want, it’s very exciting,” said Baird.
A member of the City of Victoria’s Indigenous advisory group, Janice Simcoe, sent a statement saying the renaming shows Indigenous history is beginning to be acknowledged.
“Joseph Trutch caused irreparable damage to Indigenous peoples. As an Indigenous person, I am so heartened that our history and our experience is beginning to be acknowledged,” read the statement.
Helps says the change from Trutch to Truth could happen as early as a few weeks.