Downtown site renamed 和園 Harmony Park and Parkade as part of The City's anti-racism efforts
The City-owned park and parkade located at 115 4 Avenue S.W. have been renamed 和園 Harmony Park and Parkade, as part of The City of Calgary’s anti-racism efforts to become a more inclusive city. The name was chosen by the Chinatown community through an engagement process carried out over the past year and approved by Council on Nov. 1.
An ad-hoc group consisting of Chinatown community members and The City project team reviewed the many names suggested by the community. 和園 Harmony Park and Parkade emerged as the top choice because it represents a virtue that benefits society.
Formerly known as James Short Park and Parkade, renaming this site on the boundary of Chinatown addresses the historic harm caused by racial discrimination against Chinese Calgarians. James Short was a prominent Calgarian in the late 1800s and early 1900s whose anti-Chinese views contributed to this racial injustice. When the park and parkade were named after him in 1991, his racial prejudices were overlooked.
The renaming supports The City’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the cultural vibrancy of Chinatown through the forthcoming Chinatown Cultural Plan and Area Redevelopment Plan. Together, these three projects have invited meaningful conversations about how best to recognize Chinatown’s history, celebrate its people and culture, and take steps to ensure that Chinatown remains a culturally rich place for people to live, visit, work and do business.
“The time has come to bring forward a name that reflects inclusion of Calgary's diverse communities, particularly those of ethno-cultural backgrounds. I’m pleased to see their recommended name approved. Calgary's Chinese community has been a long-standing builder and contributor that has endured and risen above the intergenerational harms of systemic racism. The renaming is an opportunity to reflect on the past, talk about diversity in the city, and to look ahead by telling a new story that talks about harmony in a culturally diverse city.”
Terry Wong, Ward 7 Councillor
“I applaud The City of Calgary’s commitment and efforts in becoming an anti-racist organization and setting the city on a course to be an anti-racist city that treats all citizens with dignity and respect. There are other ways to learn about James Short. The City and the people of Calgary are taking a stance on whether we keep the current name, meaning racist acts are acceptable; or make a change to acknowledge discrimination is never acceptable.”
Teresa Woo-Paw, President of the Asian Heritage Foundation; Tomorrow’s Chinatown advisory group member
“The renaming is about change. It is important to recognize what has happened in the past and move forward for a better understanding of the Chinatown community and its culture. The new name means a lot to the community and to Calgarians, and signals that those who are different can still live in harmony with others.”
Ed Tam, President of the Chinatown Community Association; Tomorrow’s Chinatown advisory group member
“While this renaming is a significant milestone toward addressing systemic racism experienced by the Chinese community in Calgary, we recognize it marks one step on an ongoing journey to become an anti-racist city. There is much more work to do.”
Linda Kongnetiman, Managing Lead with The City of Calgary’s Anti-Racism Program
“By naming the site after James Short, The City of Calgary recognizes that it was complicit in the harm that was caused to the Chinatown community. This renaming starts to make amends with the community by acknowledging the prejudices that for too long have allowed systemic racism against Chinese Calgarians to prevail.”
Michelle Reid, Cultural Landscape Management Lead at The City of Calgary
Learn more about the renaming and the park’s history at calgary.ca/harmonypark
“The word 和 is a reminder of the need to interact with many different people and views in today’s world. The term also acknowledges the First People to occupy the land on which the park is situated, by recognizing their willingness to harmonize with their environment. And for Chinese people in Calgary, the name 和園 Harmony Park and Parkade is opposite to the racism that is part of the history of the park and that the renaming addresses.”
Lloyd 史羅一 and 黃恕寧 Shu-ning Sciban, Tomorrow’s Chinatown advisory group members
“The Chinese word 和 expresses the concept of peace, togetherness or the absence of conflict. For social interactions in a peaceful and orderly society, the concept of 和 is very much one of the key elements.
Philosophers throughout the centuries have identified mutual respect, tolerance and the right to be different as the fundamental principles that guide a civilized society. Without any one of these three principles, a civilized society, especially a liberal democracy, cannot be sustained, as it will lead to conflicts and hostilities among the individuals.
Chinese culture embraces these three fundamental principles. It attains mutual respect through rituals and customs, it encourages tolerance through generosity of spirit and understanding, and it fosters the right to be different through recognition and acceptance of the fact that everyone is different. But more importantly, the common thread that runs through all three is the concept and presence of 和.”
Malcolm Chow, Chairman, Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre; Tomorrow’s Chinatown advisory group member