Exploring Truth & Reconciliation in Condos

Our Local Chapter Commitment – An Introduction

by Dan Nielsen, President, CCI North Alberta Chapter

Our nation is currently going through a very important conversation and exercise that is difficult, and a long time coming, rooted in our history of colonialism that has outcomes we continue to see the generational impacts from. Over the past several years, this has been acutely apparent with the discovery of the victims of residential schools and has brought to light the reality that our history is still playing a part of our current everyday lives. To build the country that we want to be and that our citizens deserve, we must address these historical realities, and work to reconcile them.

While these conversation and acts of reconciliation are often seen at a high level, and the role of government, this year on September 30th, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the CCI NA staff took the morning to discuss reconciliation, and the role that our organization, our members, our community can and must play in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. This was an impactful conversation, and we continued it on a later day with a local Indigenous leader who spoke to our discussion of the role condominiums play in reconciliation. We spoke about how as an organization, we can help guide our members through some steps that can acknowledge our past, and make changes to ensure all members of our society are respected, included and uplifted.

There are many actions that can take place, and while it may seem daunting, or perhaps small actions may not feel impactful in a widespread society changing way, we want to find ways through our many resources, including this magazine, our tutorials and class sessions, and ACE, etc, to show our members how and why it is important, and how often it is not as difficult as you may believe it to be. That these actions can be truly impactful, regardless of how big or small they are. We will work to bring examples for why and how such acts of reconciliation are important, and how our members can undertake these actions themselves. As such, we reached out to a local condominium association, which undertook the process of renaming their building, and we asked them to provide some insights into why and how they went about this, which we have included in this article. By no means, is there only one way to undergo such a process, and by undertaking a name change, it does not mean mission accomplished in terms of a reconciled nation, but it is impactful, and as a chapter of a national organization, we will continue to be a part of this process, and will support our members, and our community to navigate it through the best of our ability. 

Truth & Reconciliation in Condos in Action

by Larry Payne, President, Board of Directors, Riverview House

For thirty years, Grandin House was the tradename of our condominium. We are a close knit community with only ten units and are located on a prominent street in the heart of Edmonton’s downtown core.

As the realities of residential schools unfolded, the Board became more and more apparent of the harm and trauma caused by the building’s namesake. Working in a public school system, myself, I was heavily involved in dialogues and teaching on a daily basis regarding truth and reconciliation including the Calls to Action within the Commission.

I tabled with the Board that any branding of buildings or businesses speaks to character and core values inherent within; therefore, I raised the topic with our Board and the possible perceptions of our building if we continued with a name largely associated with Vital Grandin. I provided the following historical account to assist with the Board’s dialogue and deliberations about the possibility.

Volume one of The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which provides a historical account of Canada’s residential schools system from its 19th-century origins up until 1939, contains background information about Grandin’s motivations for championing residential schools. According to the report, Grandin was “convinced that Aboriginal people faced extinction, and doubtful that adult hunters and trappers could be transformed successfully into farmers.” The report states Grandin implored Langevin that for Indigenous children “to become civilized they should be taken with the consent of their parents and made to lead a life different from their parents and cause them to forget the customs, habits and language of their ancestors.”

Subsequent to the Board’s agreement to pursue a name change, the following survey was sent to all owners to gauge the level of support to move forward. The following communication as sent to all owners:

Dear Owners,

The Board has its next meeting on June 22nd. One of the agenda items we will be discussing is the renaming of Grandin House. This is not our legal corporate number but rather a trademark name associated with our building. Given recent events respecting residential school deaths and to do our part for Truth and Reconciliation, and in light of the current direction the City of Edmonton is taking in renaming of the LRT station, the Board is looking for input from all owners on whether a name change is desirable. Before the Board makes a final decision, we would like to canvas all owners on the following:

  • Do you support renaming the building?
  • Do you have any suggestions for a new name?

General consensus was received from the owners to proceed. A list of possible names was generated. The Board pursued two avenues 1) at nominal cost reserve any names we were considering for 90 days and 2) provincial and federal name searches were conducted for results of incorporated entities, partnerships and trade names.

Once the Board narrowed it down to three potential names, another survey was sent to all owners with the top vote being that Grandin House be rebranded with the registered trade name of Riverview House. Afterwards, a legal office filed documents on behalf of our Condominium Plan with Alberta Corporate Registry as follows:

  • Ceasing the registration of our trade name “Grandin House”; and
  • Registering the trade name “Riverview House” for use by our condo.

It was a successful process for our Board; however, it was important to not rush the dialogue or push the topic through without thorough consultation. We needed to educate ourselves as a collective building of owners as to the historical knowledge and realities of Canada’s past actions.

Once all ten owners fully understood the rationale for the name rebranding they became empowered to act on one small part of the Commission’s Call to Action.

And we did.


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