It's time for child care for all - Des services de garde éducatifs pour tous

Cindy Mitchell, centre, with her colleagues and friends Janet Leblanc and Lisa Lajoie. [Photo appeared in IMAGE Sandy Hill Community News]

Ottawa City Council has approved the renaming of Sir Wilfred Laurier Park to Cindy Mitchell Park on April 13, 2022. This renaming is in recognition of Cindy Mitchell’s extensive service to the community. Mitchell was an Early Childhood Educator, working at Bettye Hyde Nursery for 27 years, where she retired in 2020. Mitchell is known for being a champion for decent compensation, health benefits, and working conditions for educators in the early learning and child care sector.

Child Care Now is very pleased with this decision. Back in March, Child Care Now’s Executive Director, Morna Ballantyne, offered an endorsement during the public consultation phase on renaming the park. 

Renaming the park was championed by Ottawa resident, Stéphanie Plante, who noticed a lack of places in Ottawa named for women. “As I was making my way around the city—suburbs, urban areas, rural areas—I noticed that there wasn’t… anything really named after women,” said Plante.

Plante believes that wider recognition for Early Childhood Educators and women is important. “We know essential workers are few and far between in our public consciousness… because of early childhood [educators], a lot of women can continue working and keep their careers going. So we want to make sure that at a municipal level, there’s some recognition for that,” Plante said.

Following the Council’s approval, Ballantyne said, “What an amazing tribute to Cindy and to Early Childhood Educators everywhere. It will be a great time when a park in every town and city is named to commemorate the value and contribution of educators in early learning and child care.”