In Halifax, there was intense public debate recently over erasing the name "Cornwallis" from a local school. That's because former Nova Scotia governor Edward Cornwallis authorized the killing of Mi'kmaq Indians in the 18th century.
In the eyes of his critics, Cornwallis was guilty of genocide. And you don't name schools after perpetrators of this crime.
B.C.'s 14th premier, James Dunsmuir, has never been accused of genocide. But he was a coal baron from 1876 to 1910 who ruthlessly busted strikes at his operations on Vancouver Island.
He opposed restrictions on Chinese immigration for many years, because this kept down the cost of labour. But he called for a higher head tax in 1900, according to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
As lieutenant-governor from 1906 to 1909, he tried to preserve provincial legislation to curtail Asian immigration, even though this is an area of federal jurisdiction.
There are many things in this province named after Dunsmuir, even though he and his father Robert were, at times, brutal employers.
I've often wondered why in downtown Vancouver, we continue to honour Dunsmuir by naming a major thoroughfare after him.
The city and province have done a woeful job of naming Vancouver streets, parks, and schools after people of colour who have helped build our province. It sends the wrong signals to kids and to society as a whole.
It's about time this changed.
Financier Milton Wong is widely acknowledged as someone who has given a great deal to this city and helped promote cultural harmony and education in numerous ways. He has done this quietly and with dignity, never seeking the spotlight for himself.
I suggest that he is a much worthier figure to have a street in downtown Vancouver named after him than James Dunsmuir.
This is why I'm proposing that we dump the name "Dunsmuir Street" and replace it with "Milton Wong Boulevard". It's appropriate given that this road runs from Chinatown to Vancouver's financial district, mirroring the path of Wong's life.
Many American cities created a "Martin Luther King Boulevard" to honour one of their greatest opponents of racial discrimination. We could easily afford the same courtesy to Wong, who has helped make Vancouver a beacon of open-minded thinking on this issue.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.