Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Machray Park name change put off

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Neighbourhood children put their hand prints on a freshly painted building at Machray Park in 2013.

JESSICA BURTNICK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Neighbourhood children put their hand prints on a freshly painted building at Machray Park in 2013. Photo Store

A proposal to rename a North End park after a former city councillor was put on hold after heritage groups opposed the move.

A civic committee voted Monday to give everyone involved month to consider the options.

"That's all we wanted... more time to discuss it further," said John Perrin, a spokesman for a coalition of groups, including the Scottish Heritage Council of Manitoba and the Anglican Archdiocese of Rupert's Land.

The proposal calls for renaming Machray Park after Harry Lazarenko, a city councillor for 30 years who was forced to retire in 2010 because of illness.

Machray Park is bounded by Church and Anderson avenues on the north and south and Andrews and Powers streets on the west and east.

It's believed the park was named after Robert Machray, who was the first archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Rupert's Land.

Machray died in 1904 and the park was created in 1909.

Coun. Ross Eadie, who succeeded Lazarenko as the ward councillor and is promoting the name change, said a street and school in the North End are named after Machray and he didn't see how changing the name of the park would alter the city's recognition of Machray.

Perrin read a letter from the archdiocese that said Machray should be remembered for his contributions on the new province of Manitoba and Winnipeg.

"Machray had an extraordinary life," Perrin said, adding he brought the parish school model from England to the Red River settlement, reorganized St. John's College in 1866 and was later appointed the first chancellor of the University of Manitoba, and is credited in 1868 with advocating peaceful relations between the Métis and English settlers.

"He was a pivotal figure in Red River and Winnipeg at the time," Perrin said.

"To change the name of the park at this time would be to discredit the history of our community."

An administration report opposes the name change and suggests Lazarenko be honoured in another way, such as the dedication of a flower garden in Kildonan Park.

At Eadie's request, the committee postponed a decision until its June meeting.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Does it dishonor historical figures to re-name their landmarks? Should the city find a new way to honour people? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 13, 2014 B2

History

Updated on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 9:35 AM CDT: adds photo

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