Former Grandin School in Edmonton renamed Holy Child Catholic Elementary School

The former Grandin School has been renamed Holy Child Catholic Elementary School, removing the dedication to a man who was instrumental in setting up Canada’s residential schools and replacing it with the memory of children who attended them.

Trustees with Edmonton Catholic Schools voted unanimously in June to remove the name of Vital Grandin, the first Roman Catholic bishop of St. Albert and architect of the residential school system in Canada, from the 105-year-old school at 98th Avenue and 110th Street.

A committee that included the Edmonton Catholic School District (ECSD) Elders’ Advisory Council and Indigenous Learning Services was tasked with finding the new name.

“The committee also used the following guiding principles: that the name honour the children whose lives were lost in residential schools, and that the name be one that would be meaningful and positive for the students of the school,” board chair Sandra Palazzo said in a news release. 

“Additionally, calling to mind the children who were tragically lost in residential schools, this name counsels us that we, as a society, must always remember and honour that every child is holy.” 

Several other locations bearing Grandin’s name or image were also changed this past summer. 

Just hours after Edmonton Catholic School trustees decided to change the name of Grandin School, the same decision was made by Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools about that school’s 62-year-old Vital Grandin Catholic Elementary School.

Edmonton city council removed the Grandin name from a downtown LRT station and covered a mural that paid tribute to him.

And in Calgary, Catholic trustees also voted unanimously in June in favour of changing the name of Bishop Grandin High School. It will be known temporarily as Haysboro Catholic High School until the district determines a permanent name. 

The school offers French immersion and Spanish bilingual programming. The new school name is Kihci Awasis in Cree, École Saint-Enfant in French, and Escuela del Santo Niño in Spanish, according to the school. (Jamie McCannel/CBC)

Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and those who are triggered by these reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

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