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Council approves Wîhkwêntôwin name for Oliver; change to take effect 2025

Oliver Park

The new name for Edmonton's most densely populated neighbourhood, Wîhkwêntôwin, will take effect Jan. 1, 2025, after city council approved the moniker Wednesday.

Council's approval was the last step of a roughly four-year process to replace the name Oliver.

“This has been an amazing and thorough process,” Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said in a statement. “Members of the community took this renaming initiative on themselves, working with area residents and guided by Indigenous Elders.

"I’m proud of Edmontonians who take the time to learn about our history — the good and the bad — and take steps to try to right past wrongs. My council colleagues and I are pleased to accept and honour this new name.”

Wîhkwêntôwin, pronounced We-Kwen-To-Win, means "circle of friends" in Cree.

Imran Ahmad, president of the Oliver Community League, said the word "showcases our neighbourhood, making a statement of who we want to be while acknowledging the harms of the past.

"This is a new chapter for our wonderful community, bringing on a name that honours the land where we live, work, eat and play.”

Updating websites, maps, signage and bylaws could take until the end of 2025 and cost $680,000 or more, the city said. The cost will be added to the city's supplemental budget when it is adjusted in the fall.

This is the first time an Edmonton neighbourhood has been renamed like this.

The neighbourhood was named in the 1930s after Frank Oliver, a prominent city figure and politician in the early 1900s. As a member of parliament and federal cabinet minister, he brought in policies targeting Indigenous land rights and restricting immigration.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Craig Ellingson and Sean Amato Top Stories

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