Roughly 30 residents watched as a street was renamed in honour of those who have lost their lives to domestic violence. The section of Third Ave. that runs between Church St. and Hapnot St. is now known as Angel Avenue. Gathered last Tuesday, Nov. 1, the crowd watched as Colleen Arnold of the Women’s Resource Centre and Mayor George Fontaine unveiled one of the three signs at the corner by the post office. “We feel that it is important to raise public awareness of this issue,” Arnold, executive director of the centre, told the crowd. “Greater public awareness of this complex problem will reinforce the fact that violence is unacceptable.” Arnold, who works with victims of domestic violence, spoke with authority as her voice carried well beyond the crowd. “The goal is to raise awareness and inform the public of the consequences of domestic violence and the importance of standing up against it,” she said. “Domestic violence affects everyone.”
‘Not a pleasure’
Mayor Fontaine told the assembled residents “that it’s not a pleasure to be doing this.” “It’s an honour to do it, but not the least bit a pleasure,” he said. Fontaine went on to tell the crowd, made up of school children, media, pedestrians and representatives from local businesses, that the renaming of the street shouldn’t have to happen. “….we really want people to understand (to) make this sort of thing stop,” said the mayor, referring to the violence.
“Violence against women, children, senior citizens and others is just totally unacceptable. It needs to stop.” Mayor Fontaine announced in November 2010 that the Women’s Resource Centre’s request to rename the street had been approved. Tuesday’s unveiling ceremony coincided with the start of Domestic Violence Prevention Month. While renaming the street is a small step, Fontaine says it is an “honour to dedicate a street in honour of those who have suffered.” He says he hopes Angel Avenue can help prevent others from suffering in the future. “As a city, we’re proud to be able to do this,” said the mayor.
Flin Flon is the first community in Manitoba to have an Angel Avenue, but Arnold says she hopes to see the trend continue. While a request was made in Winnipeg, the action was denied. Advocates would like to see every community in Canada eventually have an Angel Avenue. The remaining stretch of this portion of Third Ave., between Hapnot and Hill streets and leading to the Cenotaph war monument, is to be renamed in honour of veterans.