Famed piano teacher's family upset after Montreal reneges on plan for Daisy-Peterson-Sweeney St.
The family of a renowned piano teacher is angry with the City of Montreal for reneging on a promise to name a street after her.
Daisy Peterson Sweeney taught the likes of her brother Oscar Peterson and friend Oliver Jones, among thousands of others.
Soon after her death last year, the Coderre administration promised to name a street after her.
The city has now changed course, and plans to honour her with a tiny park at the corner of Guy and Paxton Sts. in the Ville Marie borough.
Celine Peterson, Peterson Sweeney’s niece, is not impressed.
“It really isn't a park. That's a very generous word for it. It looks like a dog run, this very small patch of grass,” she said. “It just shows you how the City of Montreal continues to treat their women and people of colour. That seems to be a pattern in terms of these prominent people with a very diverse background just being disregarded.”
The city said it promises to upgrade the park, which currently is named Guy-Paxton St. – after the intersection – and is used mostly by dog walkers. It also has two compost bins on site.
Mayor Valerie Plante said she doesn't want to rename streets and parks.
“Streets already have names and to me this is not a political decision, it's about (how) you don't unname a street to rename a street. This is a very serious process,” she said.
The family of Daisy Peterson Sweeney says they found out the city's plan in May and there was no consultation.
“Daisy deserved much better, deserves much more,” said Celine Sweeney,” who is also upset they weren’t consulted, “to not even have a real conversation with any of us, and to make this decision.”
Her family wants Delisle St. to be renamed after her – it’s where Union United Church is located, a place where Daisy and her brother Oscar spent a lot of time.
“If the family is not happy with the decision, we will find something else, I'm confident,” said Plante.
Fo Niemi, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations said he’s discouraged.
“She belongs to the ages; she belongs in halls of honours, music academies and to major places that would recognize, among other things, her legacy,” he said. “Not to a small park that most people have never heard of.”