Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine were the respective heads of a united Canada after the Act of Union in 1840. They created and founded much of what Canada is today—things which we somehow credit Sir John A. One of the many things they founded was the first Canadian University which was not founded by a religious institution. They founded the University of Toronto. I think it would be fitting for Ryerson University to be renamed Baldwin and Lafontaine University.
Thank you for writing to us and responding to our article on Ryerson University’s name change announcement. Yes, Baldwin and Lafontaine founded the University of Toronto when they set up the public school system. However, I disagree that Ryerson University (RU) should be named after these two figures. Baldwin and Lafontaine are still colonial figures, regardless of the impact they’ve had through their ‘responsible government’ era and the institutions they have established. The intention behind the decision to change RU’s name comes from the acknowledgment that it is disrespectful to the Indigenous communities considering Ryerson himself was an architect of the brutal residential school system. Renaming the university to honour a different colonial figure is not the appropriate way forward for reconciliation. Students and community groups are working together to offer name suggestions at the moment, and I hope RU decides to implement a name that honours Indigenous Peoples.
Aroni Sarkar, Opinion Editor
Opinion Editor (Volume 48) | firstname.lastname@example.org —
Aroni is a fourth-year student completing a double major in Political Science and English. She previously served as the Associate Comment Editor for Volume 47. Aroni is keen on enabling a safe and trusted space within the student body for students to critically think about issues that matter to them—both on a personal to global scale. Outside of studying, writing, and editing, she loves to dance to classic Bollywood tunes, cycle while listening to music or a podcast, write in her blog, and watch endless K-dramas on Netflix and Viu. You can connect with her on Instagram, LinkedIn, or her blog.