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By George, just leave it

The Upper Grand District School Board should think twice about renaming King George school – or, as it is sometimes bilingually called these days, L’École King George Public School.
The old King George school was built on Lemon Street in 1948. Deemed too costly to fix, it was demolished to make way for a new school that opened in 2012. Used as a holding school  since then, it will start a new life in September as a JK-8 French immersion centre.
The board says King George might be renamed “as a result of the new school building, grade configuration and French immersion designation.” A naming committee has been appointed to consider what to do. The board is inviting public suggestions  – online, or using naming boxes at King George and Victory schools.
Here’s our suggestion: keep the King George name.
Guelph has schools named after streets, former board officials, miliary heroes, a children’s author, a painter, an opera singer, and others. However, this is the only Guelph school honouring a member of the monarchy that has been such a big part of Canada’s history. Canada’s monarch was named King George for 42 years in the last century – King George V from 1910 until his death in 1936, and his second son, King George VI (the current queen’s father), from 1936 until his death in 1952.
Like King George, John McCrae school was labelled “prohibitive to repair” before being demolished and rebuilt. But it reopened in 2009 and kept its old name. When Laurine Avenue school was demolished and rebuilt, reopening in 2013, it was renamed John Galt school to honour Guelph’s founder. No arguments from us about subsituting our history for a school named after a street.
Board policy allows school naming or renaming based on only three criteria: after the street it’s on, as a reflection of the community the school serves, or after a significant individual or event.
No renaming is warranted in this case, we say.

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