City recognizes renaming of Theodore Niizhotay Fontaine Park at the former Wellington Park

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service responds to fires on Langside Street and Sherbrook Street

Released: 10:08 a.m.

Winnipeg, MB – The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service recently responded to two fires.

Langside Street fire

At 6:51 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, the WFPS responded to reports of a fire in a temporary encampment in the 600 block of Langside Street.

When crews arrived, they found an area of the encampment engulfed in flames and smoke. The fire was extinguished with damage to several tents and their contents.

No injuries were reported. Two individuals were displaced by the fire. The City’s Emergency Social Services responded to assist them with alternate accommodations.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Sherbrook Street fire

At 6:23 a.m. on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, the WFPS responded to reports of a fire in a three-storey, multi-family residence in the 100 block of Sherbrook Street.

At the scene, crews saw smoke coming from the building. They fought the fire from inside the structure. The fire was declared under control at 6:59 a.m.

Everyone got out of the building safely, and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Damage estimates are not available at this time.

City recognizes renaming of Theodore Niizhotay Fontaine Park at the former Wellington Park

Released: 10:31 a.m.

Winnipeg, MB – Today, the City of Winnipeg recognized the renaming of Theodore Niizhotay Fontaine Park at the former Wellington Park, located next to the former site of the Assiniboia Indian Residential School on Academy Road. Councillor John Orlikow was joined in recognizing Theodore Niizhotay Fontaine Park and unveiling a new park sign by Morgan Fontaine, members of the Assiniboia Residential School Legacy Group and Reanna Merasty of Welcoming Winnipeg’s Committee of Community Members.

The request to rename the park to Theodore Niizhotay Fontaine Park was approved by City Council through the Welcoming Winnipeg: Reconciling our History Policy. Theodore Fontaine recently passed in 2021, and during his life was a Chief and Sagkeeng Anicinabe First Nation knowledge keeper, Elder, author, educator, and public speaker who dedicated his final years to preserving the history of the Assiniboia Indian Residential School and in engaging the River Heights community with its presence in their neighbourhood.

In addition to approving the renaming request, Welcoming Winnipeg’s Committee of Community members recommended a territorial acknowledgment to accompany the park signage and a new marker added to give greater context to Theodore Fontaine’s background and contributions. This will be installed by the City in the spring, and will be acknowledged with a larger community event hosted by Theodore’s family and friends.

“This renaming is a worthy tribute for a man who was beloved in this community and whose work and purpose will serve many generations to come,” said Councillor John Orlikow, River Heights – Fort Garry. “Theodore Fontaine worked tirelessly to share his healing journey with others. This park, located next to the site of the residential school he once attended, stands as a reminder of his lessons and the harms of the residential school system.”

“Naming this land for Theodore honours his name and his legacy of freedom and hope for children,” said Morgan Fontaine, widow of Theodore Fontaine. “This land holds the sacred remembrances of former students, and will bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples together in ceremony, commemoration, and reconciliation.”

“On behalf of the Welcoming Winnipeg Committee of Community Members, it was an honour to be part of this process of commemorating and honouring a significant figure within the Indigenous community,” said Reanna Merasty, Chair of the Committee of Community Members. “Theodore Niizhotay Fontaine Park signifies another step towards the representation of our Indigenous stories and bringing light to the contributions Indigenous peoples have had to our community.”

The Welcoming Winnipeg: Reconciling Our History Policy was developed to guide the City in making decisions regarding requests to create new, add to, or remove/rename historical markers and place names and resolve the absence of Indigenous perspectives, experiences and contributions in the stories remembered and commemorated.

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