With the rise of recent social movements, racist pioneers are slowly losing their claim to Calgary. James Short Park will be renamed soon, after a motion to replace its name with another passed almost unanimously. The man behind the name was associated with the city's anti-Chinese movement and tried to stop Chinatown from being established.
In a council meeting agenda from Monday, July 20, Calgary City Council voted to rename James Short Park, located right across the street to Calgary's Chinatown, over its namesake who was a lawyer for the "racist Anti-Chinese League."
The motion was brought forward by councillor Druh Farrell, after requests from Chinatown organizations like the Business Improvement Area. Her original notice of motion was posted on Tuesday, July 14.
"The fact that the park and parkade are directly across the street from Chinatown, is frankly an affront to the neighbourhood of Chinatown," said Farrell during the debate.
Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart, who said she didn't want Calgary to "fall to cancel culture," was the only one who voted against it as it passed 14 to one.
She also said that was worried that the city might be acting too quickly to rename the park and asked not to "jump the gun" with individual requests.
"The changing of the name for Reconciliation Bridge was after a very comprehensive review," she added.
"I’m sure Short did good things for the city but he was vehemently anti-Chinese, he fought very hard to have Chinatown not be at the location that they’re at," said Farrell at the start of the debate.
According to the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre, Short led a group of anti-Chinese homeowners who demanded that Chinatown be relocated to a different area. While he wasn't successful, the lawyer and school principal managed to name the park right next door to the area.
"Did this person deserve to be honoured, somebody who very much opposed the very existence of the community across the street from it?" said Farrell.
Now, the Chinatown community will work with the city to come up with a new name for the park.