The signs on Calgary’s Langevin Bridge will be replaced at a later date to reflect its new name — the Reconciliation Bridge.
The Langevin Bridge was named for Sir Hector-Louis Langevin, the Minister of Public Works who authorized the funding for the first bridge’s construction in 1888. While Langevin made great contributions to Canada and played an important role in Confederation, he also played a foundational role in the establishment of the Indian residential school system.
During this time, the Government of Canada removed several generations of Indigenous children (over 150,000) from their families and communities and placed them in the residential school system — a system that inflicted abuse on its students and left a legacy of intergenerational harm.
The recommendation to rename the bridge came out of the White Goose Flying Report, written by the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (CAUAC) in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) 2015 final report.
CAUAC suggested, “The City of Calgary to consider re-naming the bridge to a name that signifies building communities rather than dismantling them is a powerful symbol of mutual respect for the future.”
The renaming of the bridge is also being done as a way to spark discussion. As the TRC summary states: “Reshaping national history is a public process, one that happens through discussion, sharing, and commemoration. As Canadians gather in public spaces to share their memories, beliefs, and ideas about the past with others, our collective understanding of the present and future is formed.”
While the name change takes effect immediately, an official ceremony will take place in the coming months to rededicate the Langevin Bridge as the "Reconciliation Bridge" and to foster healing and reconciliation within the community.
City Administration will also work with the Mayor's Office, interested Members of Council, Treaty 7 Knowledge Keepers, CAUAC and the Calgary Heritage Authority to develop a plaque for the bridge that will explain the history of the bridge structure, as well as the stories of both Hector Langevin and the Indian residential school system’s impact on Canada's Indigenous community.
More information will released about the ceremony once it is known.