May 8, 2017
Ministry of Transportation
Operations Office, West Region,
659 Exeter Rd.,
London, ON N6E 1L3
Proposal to Name the Southampton Highway Bridge
Bridges can either divide or unite. For many years the bridge on Highway 21 over the Saugeen River at Southampton, Ontario has represented a divide between the residents of the Southampton and those of the Saugeen First Nation on the other side of the river. But things can change.
G.C. Huston Public School in Southampton serves both communities (approximately 60% and 40% respectively) and over the past several years has strived to exploit the advantages of a school body which strongly represents both cultures. This past year the school curriculum has been built around the Seven Grandfather Teachings of First Nations tradition, with these values embedded into many aspects of the regular course material.
The Seven Grandfather Teachings, or the Good Path, (Bimaadzwin in the Ojibwe language) are Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility and Truth. Each of these attributes must be used in conjunction with the others – to omit one is to embrace the opposite of what the teachings tell us.
Early in this past school year the pupils of G. C. Huston school developed an idea that the bridge over the Saugeen River could be named Bimaadzwin – Good Path Bridge as a means of representing the ties between the two communities. The belief is that such a move will encourage all to dwell on those things that unite the two communities rather than focussing on those that divide them.
This suggestion has gathered the support of the Council of the Town of Saugeen Shores (comprised of, in part, the community of Southampton) and the Saugeen First Nation. The Southampton Residents Association, representing over 400 households within the boundaries of the former Town of Southampton, is strongly supportive of this initiative and encourage its adoption.
Yours very truly,
W. James Henning, President