Oscar Peterson’s widow thrilled by petition to change metro station name

Oscar Peterson’s widow thrilled by petition to change metro station name

Oscar Peterson’s widow thrilled by petition to change metro station name

MONTREAL — The widow of legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson says she is heartened by a petition calling for Montreal to rename a metro station in his honour.

Kelly Peterson told The Canadian Press that as trustee of the late musician’s estate, she’s always looking for ways to further his legacy and welcomes the effort by a Montreal man to see her late husband recognized.

A petition launched last week by Naveed Hussain calling on the city to rename the Lionel-Groulx metro station after Peterson, who grew up in the nearby Little Burgundy neighbourhood, has been gaining steam with more than 15,000 signatures.

“I love the idea, I love the idea of Oscar being honoured,” Peterson said on Thursday. “It always really warms my heart and thrills me to see him being remembered … and to have so many people in the neighbourhood in which he grew up wanting to honour him and remember him that way is really overwhelming.”

But the City of Montreal and the city’s transit agency have said that renaming a metro station is complicated and not likely to happen.

The Montreal Transit Corp. has had a moratorium on name changes since 2006 and has only ever made five name changes since opening. A spokesman said stations are typically named after the streets or nearby landmarks.

A previous grassroots attempt to rename the station for Peterson in 2008, shortly after the musician’s death, did not succeed.

In Montreal, a concert hall at Concordia University bears Peterson’s name as does a park not far from the Lionel-Groulx station. There’s also a mural across from the green space in Little Burgundy near the metro station inaugurated in 2010.

A city spokeswoman indicated this week officials would be open to finding a different way of honouring the jazz legend whose career spanned more than 60 years.

Just last year, the city honoured Peterson’s late sister, Daisy Peterson-Sweeney, an accomplished music teacher, with her own park in the neighbourhood.

“I would be delighted and thrilled and honoured if the city wanted to do something to honour Oscar even more,” Peterson said. “It’s not something I ever expect from anyone — I don’t just mean Montreal — Oscar was always humbled by every honour he received, and I feel the same way.”

Kelly Peterson’s focus has been on promoting his musical legacy — the songs that he recorded and played, but more recently, those he composed himself so that people can see a more complete version of Oscar Peterson.

“People play Bach, people play Beethoven, I want people to play Oscar Peterson,” she said. “I’ve always felt that his music will outlive all of us: People will be listening to Oscar’s music 100 years from now, so it would be nice if there are other things that represent him as well.”

Oscar Peterson does have schools named for him in the Ontario communities of Mississauga and Stouffville, as well as a small square in Toronto’s financial district.

But Kelly Peterson, who lives in southern Ontario, added it’s not for her to get involved in Montreal city politics or change its policies.

“I don’t live there, I don’t feel I have the right to get involved in something that has an impact on the residents, and I’m not one of them,” she said. “But the honour? Absolutely, I love it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 26, 2020.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Jazz

Just Posted

Photo Courtesy: Echo Lacombe Association logo.
Lacombe City Council supports Echo Lacombe with location for pilot program

Echo Lacombe Association will run a pilot propgram on food rescue until November, 1, 2021

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday June 12th, 2021

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Most Read