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City seeking public input on Chief William Commanda Bridge commemorative naming proposal

May 21, 2021
Announcements and Events

The City is consulting the public on a proposal to rename the Prince of Wales Bridge, which crosses the Ottawa River (Kitchissippi in Algonquin) and Lemieux Island to connect Ottawa to Gatineau, (Ward 14 – Somerset; Ward 15 – Kitchissippi), as the Chief William Commanda Bridge.

This year, subject to funding from other levels of government, the City will be transforming the bridge into an interprovincial active transportation corridor, where residents will be able to walk, cycle and cross-country ski.

This historic bridge linking Ottawa to Gatineau was built in 1880 and was last used for rail traffic in 2001. As part of its Transportation Master Plan, the City has protected the corridor as a future rail link between Ottawa and Gatineau. In the meantime, there is an opportunity for the bridge to provide active transportation benefits to visitors and residents on both sides of the Ottawa River.

In the beginning, this bridge unfortunately served as a corridor to extract and transport natural resources from the land of the Algonquins. That reality is part of Canada’s dark colonial past – one that we must recognize if we want to engage in meaningful Reconciliation with our Indigenous partners.

Following discussions with Algonquin partners, the City is seeking the feedback of residents to rename the bridge the Chief William Commanda Bridge.

William Commanda served as Chief of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation from 1951 to 1970. He was an Algonquin elder, a spiritual leader, a promoter of environmental stewardship and a great bridge builder between nations. For his dedication and outstanding service to his people, William Commanda was awarded the Order of Canada in 2008.

This proposal to rename the Prince of Wales Bridge is a fitting tribute to Chief William Commanda, and an important symbol of Reconciliation between our nations.

Submit your comments by Sunday, June 20.

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