Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History

Last updated: September 7, 2022 

In October 2018, Halifax Regional Council approved the formation of a joint Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History (Task Force), between the Halifax Regional Municipality (municipality) and the Mi'kmaw community, as represented by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs (ANSMC). The Task Force reflects an equal partnership between Halifax Regional Council and ANSMC. 

The Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History completed its report, with its recommendations, at the end of April 2020. A staff report on these recommendations was presented to Regional Council on July 21, 2020. View the report here

On July 21, 2020, Council voted to: 

  1. Accept the report of the Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History;
  2. Approve the proposed HRM responses to the recommendations of the Task Force report; and,
  3. Direct the CAO to return to Council annually to report on progress addressing the recommendations. 

Current Status of the Task Force report: Cornwallis Street renaming 

Overview

As directed by Regional Council, the renaming of Cornwallis Street is one of the recommendations of the Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History, and a step towards reconciliation. 

Over the past year, all residents across the municipality have been invited to participate in two surveys to provide their feedback on the renaming of Cornwallis Street. 

The first round of public engagement took place during the fall of 2021, where residents had the opportunity to submit name suggestions. The municipality encouraged suggestions that reflect the goal of reconciliation. The 3,300 name suggestions received were reviewed and evaluated based on appropriateness, cultural significance, diversity and originality. From this review, a short list of potential new street names was created. 

The second round of public engagement took place during the summer of 2022, where residents had the opportunity to select their three preferred street names from the short list. A total of 8,733 surveys were completed.

The final step will include a staff report brought to Regional Council for deliberation and a decision in late 2022/early 2023, with anticipated implementation of the new name in the fall of 2023.  

The new street name will become effective nine months following Regional Council’s final approval of the new name. This web page will continue to be updated as information becomes available. 

Learn more about public engagement for the renaming of Cornwallis Street

First renaming survey (fall 2021)

During the fall of 2021, the municipality conducted a first survey to collect new street name suggestions for Cornwallis Street in Halifax. Over 2,588 surveys were completed, which resulted in more than 3,300 new street name suggestions for Cornwallis Street. 

Those street name suggestions from the first survey were reviewed by an Advisory Group, in accordance with Administrative Order 29, Respecting HRM Civic Addressing Policies, and Administrative Order 46, Respecting HRM Asset Naming Policies. The Advisory Group consisted of municipal Civic Addressing staff, Diversity & Inclusion staff, as well as local councillors.

Street name suggestions that were duplicates, similar or did not meet the street naming polices, were removed from consideration (in total, 1,355 name suggestions were removed). The remaining list of 1,948 suggested names were evaluated based on appropriateness, cultural significance, diversity and originality, identifying a total number of 672 unique name suggestions. 

These 672 name suggestions were divided into two categories, including commemorative names (181) and non-commemorative names (491). 

The 491 non-commemorative names were further separated into two categories – 86 Mi’kmaw language name suggestions, as well as 405 other name suggestions. 

Commemorative names include names of people, events, and groups of people or any suggestion that is over the 11-character maximum allowed for new street names. Further information can be found here

All commemorative name submissions must go through the commemorative naming application and review process

From the first survey, the Advisory Group evaluated the submissions based on four criteria, including appropriateness, cultural significance, diversity, and originality. This evaluation resulted in the list of 181 suggested commemorative names being reduced to 32 names. These 32 names were then scored by the Advisory Group.

Based on the results of the scoring, the Civic Addressing Coordinator consulted with the municipal Asset Naming Committee. The Committee has recommended five commemorative names to Regional Council. To see the names and read the report, click here

On June 28, 2022, the AN112 – HRM Asset Names – Cornwallis Street Renaming report was presented to Regional Council, where Council approved the addition of five commemorative names for consideration in the second survey to replace the street name, Cornwallis Street. To learn about the history behind five commemorative names recommended, read the report.  

Staff reached out to the nominators whose commemorative name suggestions were not chosen for this project, inviting them to submit applications to the Asset Naming Committee for consideration to be placed elsewhere in the municipality.

Second renaming survey (summer 2022)

During the summer of 2022, the municipality conducted a second survey, inviting residents across the municipality to select their three preferred street names out of 15 shortlisted names (including five commemorative names and 10 non-commemorative names). 

A total of 8,733 surveys were completed.

Now that the second survey period has concluded, the Advisory Group is in the process of reviewing the results and a final recommendation report will be made to Regional Council on the proposed new street name (including one recommended name, as well as three alternative street names), for Regional Council’s consideration and decision.  

The recommendation will be based upon:

  • the number of votes a street name suggestion receives;
  • the appropriateness of the name;
  • the cultural significance of the name;
  • if the name reflects the diversity of the municipality; and,
  • the originality of the name.

The final street renaming will require approval by Regional Council.

Common questions about the renaming of Cornwallis Street

When will the new street name come into effect?

The new street name will become effective nine months following Regional Council’s final approval of the new name. This web page will continue to be updated as information becomes available.

Once a new street name has been approved, will impacted businesses be compensated financially for any newly printed materials?

As the municipality recognizes that address changes have an impact on business operations, the standard 60 days’ notice, as required by By-law C-300, will be extended to nine months to provide additional lead-time for businesses to prepare for and implement this change. The municipality will not be providing any specific financial compensation to businesses.

I live on Cornwallis Street; how will the street name change impact my mailing address?

For those experiencing a mailing address change, the municipality will arrange for Canada Post to automatically redirect mail free of charge for 12 months following Regional Council’s approval of the new name.

This address change will only affect the street name, the existing civic numbers and postal codes will remain the same.

 

Background on the Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History

In October 2017, Halifax Regional Council approved the creation of a Special Advisory Committee on Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History was established, with the mandate of providing advice to Regional Council regarding the commemoration of Edward Cornwallis on municipal assets (e.g. park, statue, street) and on the recognition and commemoration of indigenous history in the lands now known as the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Council approved a budget for the committee of $50,000, for research, public engagement, and other required supports, and a stipend for each committee member of $150 per meeting, up to $2,100. There was no reporting period established for the committee.

The names of the 10 members, five proposed by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs and five by staff from the Halifax Regional Municipality, were presented on July 17, 2018 to Regional Council, which ratified the appointment of proposed members.

In August 2018, the co-chairs requested a change in the governance structure of the committee. This motion was approved by Regional Council in October 2018, following similar motions passed by the committee, then by the Assembly.

In December 2018, an administrative approach to the new governance structure was ratified between the Halifax Regional Municipality and Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative) on behalf of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs and the Mi’kmaw of Nova Scotia. 

Originally established as a Special Advisory Committee to Regional Council, the new governance structure better reflects the equal partnership between the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs, and the committee now has the ability to set its own processes and procedures.

The mandate and membership of the committee remain the same. However, the original budget of $50,000 will now be funded equally by the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Assembly, and the administrative support for the committee will also be equally shared.

The new committee has also been asked to complete its work within two years.

A motion was passed at the first meeting of the newly constituted committee on Jan. 21, 2019 for the Special Advisory Committee to be renamed the Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History. 

For more information on the work of the Commemoration Task Force you can explore this section of Halifax.ca or visit the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative) website at

Membership

  • Yvonne Atwell
  • Jaime Battiste
  • Sheila Fougere
  • Pam Glode-Desrochers
  • Chief Roderick Googoo (co-chair)
  • Dr. John Johnston
  • Dr. Monica MacDonald (co-chair)
  • Heather McNeill, Q.C.
  • Mi’kmaq Elder Dr. Dan Paul
  • John Reid

You can learn more about the Task Force Members here: Task Force Member Biographies [PDF].

Public Engagement

Phase One: June 2019

The Task Force hosted four public engagement sessions in June to seek public input. Residents were invited to present their recommendations on the following:

  • How best to recognize and commemorate Indigenous history, in the area now known as “Kjipuktuk” or “the Halifax Regional Municipality”, as part of a more complete history of the area
  • The commemoration of Edward Cornwallis on municipal assets including the statue, park and street 

The Task Force members would like to thank all participants and communities for their participation in the June and October public engagement sessions. Anyone who wishes to share their recommendations in writing at any time, are encouraged to email submissions to clerks@halifax.ca.

Phase Two: October 2019

The Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History hosted two public engagements in October to seek public input.

Residents were invited to join facilitated conversation circles to discuss how the Halifax Regional Municipality should recognize and commemorate Indigenous history. 

As part of this important discussion, participants were also asked what we should take into consideration when commemorating history in general.