Steps to remove the former City of Etobicoke’s controversial coat of arms from a local civic centre will go ahead after staff concluded that the symbol “does not reflect” the city’s “values of reconciliation and inclusion.”
In a report that was considered by Toronto’s executive committee this week, staff said that the coat of arms has been the subject of complaints dating back to 2018 due to the use of “stereotypical and offensive Indigenous imagery and language.”
The coat of arms depicts an Indigenous man next to European explorer Étienne Brûlé. The word “tradition” is underneath the Indigenous man while the word “progress” is underneath Brûlé.
Davenport Coun. Alejandra Bravo disputed the use of the coat of arms during the meeting this week, stating that it was initially created without the participation of Indigenous groups and did not align with reconciliation efforts the city has taken.
In the report, staff said that the efforts to remove the coat of arms is part of the city’s goals to improve its relationship with Indigenous communities and “is important for creating a safe and inclusive working environment” that is “free of harmful imagery.”
Etobicoke-Lakeshore Coun. Amber Morley also stated her support for the removal of the coat of arms during the meeting.
“I look forward to the support of my colleagues to move forward with the removal of this symbol…to continue to do better to walk in a good way and make sure people feel included seen and respected as part of their city,” she said.
The coat of arms, which dates back to 1977, is currently displayed in the Etobicoke Civic Centre Council Chamber and outside a separate boardroom in the building.
Plans for the symbol to potentially be preserved at an exhibit with further historical contexts are being considered by the city but have not yet been confirmed, according to the report.