A large crowd showed up this morning for the grand opening of Vancouver's newest library branch.
The nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch at 730 East Hastings Street is "the first official city building with a First Nations name", according to Mayor Gregor Robertson.
The name is pronounced "naht-sah-mahtst" and is translated into English as "we are one."
"We want to see lots more of this," Robertson said in his remarks to the audience. "This is the beginning of a big change to welcome back the place names and welcome back the language—the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm [Musqueam] language—to make sure that we recognize the history of this place and the names that evolved with our city."
He added that the city will look at new naming opportunities, including for sites that had names "bestowed in absolute disregard or ignorance of the existing names years ago".
The 11,000-square-foot library branch has social housing on top for low-income mothers. YWCA Cause We Care House has 21 units of two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments.
The $28.5 million project was made possible with $10.2 million from YWCA Vancouver, $1.5 million from Cause We Care Foundation, $1 million from Streetohome Foundation, $385,000 from the Ismaili community of B.C., and $700,000 from the Rina Maria Bidin Fund.
Robertson congratulated all the funders for working together, calling it a "great day for Vancouver".
"All of this is an incredibly welcome addition to the community and the city at large," the mayor said.