Earlier this month, at the planning meeting of city council, a motion to make some adjustments to the recommendations in the Municipal Property and Building Commemorative Naming Report was deferred to the regular meeting. After consulting with the Naming Committee, a new park on Poppy Drive will be named after four Black soldiers that fought in World War One after all.
At the April 12 meeting, Councillor Leanne Caron put forward a motion to name the new Poppy Drive Park No. 2 Construction Battalion Park instead of Courtney, Goines and Mallott Park. The trail nearby was going to bear the name No. 2 Construction Battalion as well, which was the unit that Henry Francis Courtney, Victor Goines, Gordon Goines and Tom Malott all served with during the war, but there was some concern from councillors about making the change at a council meeting without first consulting the Naming Committee itself.
Good thing because the Name Committee was not okay with the proposed change.
“While the naming of a public asset after more than one family name is unconventional, the Policy does not preclude the Naming Committee from making such a unique recommendation to Council,” the report reads.
“By naming the park Courtney, Goines and Malott Park, we are honouring four courageous Black men from Guelph and the significant contribution of Guelph’s Black community to the First World War effort. While the forming of the No. 2 Construction Battalion is of national interest, the distinction of the Courtney, Goines and Malott family names are of Guelph’s local interest.”
In addition, the Naming Committee points out that the Street Naming Policy only allows those that died during their military service to be given a street name with the poppy insignia. Courtney, Malott and the Goineses would not qualify. On the plus side, all parties are in favour any additional signage or information that might be installed in the park to share the story of the No. 2 Construction Battalion as well as the Guelph-born soldiers that served in it.
The memo will be presented to council at the regular council meeting on Monday at 6:30 pm. You can see the rest of the agenda in the Politico preview here.
Photo Credit: Soldiers from the No. 2 Construction Battalion circa World War One