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Onigam Street re-naming recognizes Algonquin history in Kitchissippi

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River Street, which connects the Lemieux Island water purification plant with the Sir John A. Macdonald parkway will be officially named Onigam Street on November 20.

The name Onigam, Algonquin for “portage” was arrived at after collaboration between the Algonquins of Ontario, Kitchissippi Councillor Jeff Leiper and the City of Ottawa as part of the ongoing City process of re-naming duplicate streets.

“The requirement to re-name River Street as part of a wider ongoing City process was a clear opportunity to choose a name that reflects both the Indigenous connection to this land and river while emphasizing all residents’ connection to the water,” says Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi councillor.

“The Algonquin people, our ancestral memory and our cultural heritage are inherently connected to the mighty Kichisippi and its adjacent lands. The renaming of River Street to Onigam recognizes and celebrates this physical and spiritual relationship that has endured for millennia. The Algonquins of Ontario are pleased to continue our ongoing efforts with the City of Ottawa to re-establish and strengthen the Algonquin presence throughout the National Capital Region,” states Kirby Whiteduck, Algonquin Negotiation Representative and Chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation.

"Kichi Sibi - the Ottawa River - connects people in Ottawa with communities upstream, downstream, north and south, and especially with the Anishinabeg who share their unceded, unsurrendered territory with us. Public access to the river is essential and by choosing Onigam as this street's new name, we celebrate that connection and recognize the importance of preserving the Algonquin language," says Meredith Brown, Ottawa Riverkeeper.

To mark the re-naming, a short ceremony will be held at the corner of River Street (soon Onigam Street) and the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway starting at 12:30 pm on November 24. Following a prayer, short remarks will be offered by Councillor Leiper, Algonquin Negotiation Representative Lynn Clouthier, and Riverkeeper Brown, with photo opportunity.

For more information, please contact Councillor Leiper at 613.580.2485 or

Posted November 21, 2017