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Photo: Russell Township Facebook page.

Russell Township name will not change, but its namesake will

The Township of Russell will be keeping its name, and will rededicate the honour of the name “Russell” to a new candidate who better represents the community’s ideals.

The no-cost initiative resulted from a motion by Mayor Pierre Leroux at the Special Council Meeting of
Monday, July 6, after community debate over the Township’s current namesake, Peter Russell.
The village of Russell, Russell Township, and County of Russell were named in relation to Peter Russell
more than 200 years ago. Peter Russell was known to be a slave owner, and was believed to be an
active participant in delaying legislation that would put an end to slavery in this region. The municipality and Leroux have stated repeatedly that the ideals of Peter Russell do not reflect the current values of Russell Township residents.

Russell Township strives to be a kind-hearted inclusive community, whose people, policies and sense of
community make this an amazing place to live. In keeping the name “Russell Township” and
rededicating the honour to a new “Russell”, the Township formally recognizes the offensive nature of
its current honorary namesake, Peter Russell, and rectifies the situation by rededicating the name of
“Russell” in someone else’s honour, with no financial repercussions to residents.

Russell Township residents will eventually be invited to make submissions to a vetting committee,
proposing candidates with a first, middle, or last name of “Russell” worthy of being the new honorary
namesake for the Township. The vetting committee will be comprised of volunteer Russell Township
residents, tasked with making recommendations to Council on how to proceed with this community
engagement initiative. Details regarding the vetting committee and submission process will be
confirmed by Council at a later date.

“I am extremely proud to say that we are keeping our name,” said Leroux.

“Now that the decision has been made, we can concentrate on working together in finding a
new namesake. This is an opportunity to bring our community together through education, awareness
and community spirit,” he added.

In addition to the “Russell” name rededication, Council also approved moving forward with the
creation of a Russell Township Community Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee to
better understand and represent residents. The Township of Russell, as a municipal corporation, will continue to take these steps to foster safe, healthy, and inclusive communities.