City of Windsor Unveils Signage for Newly Named Hope Hill

Councillor Gary Kaschak and Councillor Jeewen Gill joined with community partners and City administration to celebrate the official naming of Hope Hill in East Windsor.

Unofficially, the hill in Riverside’s Little River Corridor Park was often referred to as “Suicide Hill.” The hill is often used by local residents for tobogganing in the winter months and many recreation activities throughout the year.

In May, the Canadian Mental Health Association – Windsor Essex County Branch (CMHA-WECB) initiated a campaign inviting the community to offer alternate names for the hill. They received an overwhelming response, with over 1,000 submissions accepted by the deadline. From the submissions, five names were shortlisted for a public vote. Hope Hill was chosen as the new name.

In July, the City received a letter from CMHA-WECB with a formal request to name the hill Hope Hill.

In September, City Council approved the naming request in accordance with the City’s Naming, Renaming or Dedicating Municipal Property, Buildings and Parks Policy and agreed to allocate $1,500 for a new sign to be placed by the hill. This decision coincided with Suicide Awareness Month as an educational opportunity for suicide awareness and prevention initiatives in the community. In addition to the new sign on site, the name will be advertised by the City via the City website and social media pages, while the CMHA-WECB will also promote the new name.

Key Local Support Links:

CMHA’s On the Front Lines comprehensive list of mental health resources in the community.

Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) Mental Health and Addictions www.hdgh.org
General Inquires 519-257-5111
Community Crisis (24/7) 519-973-4435
Child & Youth Mental Health Supports – Starting Point Counselling Clinic 519-257-5437 (KIDS)
Child & Youth Mental Health Supports – General Inquires 519-257-5215

Canadian Mental Health Association www.windsoressex.cmha.ca
Mental Health & Addictions Urgent Care Centre 519-257-5111

Family Services Windsor-Essex www.fswe.ca
Windsor-Essex Counselling Support Line 519-946-3277 or 1-877-451-1055 (24/7)

House of Sophrosyne - Lisa Tayfour Building for Recovery www.sophrosyne.ca
Residential 519-252-2711 ext. 100; Non Residential 519-252-2711 ext. 115

Quotes:

“Unveiling this sign caps off an important community campaign to formally name this popular hill in the Little River Corridor. We understand, even before the pandemic highlighted it, the important role outdoor spaces play in supporting our mental health and well-being.”
Councillor Gary Kaschak, Ward 8

“Names are important. We use names to communicate, to create ties and emotional bonds with people, places and things. That is why Council supported the investment in signage to help connect this place to our community in a strong and positive way. A new name can take time to catch on, and Ward 7 residents will do our part to help share and celebrate Hope Hill in our community.”
Councillor Jeewen Gill, Ward 7

“As a provider of social services, we increasingly hear from residents regarding the need for more mental health and addiction supports. We value our local community partners who directly provide mental health and addiction services to residents across our region. Mental illness is not a crime, nor is homelessness or poverty, yet it is often portrayed as such. We believe that language is important and we need to choose our words carefully to convey compassion, empathy and understanding. Formally adopting the name of Hope Hill is a conversation starter that helps to reduce the stigma of mental illness. Let’s keep talking.”
Jelena Payne, Commissioner of Human & Health Services, City of Windsor

“I, like many others, have lost multiple people in my life to suicide. I am not unique – it is the reality of the world we live in. It was shortly after a friend of mine died by suicide that I was thinking about him, and the pseudonym of this hill popped into my mind. I realized something had to be done to give the hill a proper name. It might take a few generations for the new name, Hope Hill, to stick – but it will stick. To those that are struggling with thoughts of suicide and their mental health, give it everything you have to fight for yourself, advocate for yourself, and believe in yourself, that you can get through this. Have the difficult conversations when you need to have them. Thank you to CMHA-WECB and the City for recognizing the need for change, and for helping to make it happen.”
Emily Bertram, Emergency Planning Officer, Windsor Fire & Rescue Services

“Language is very important, how it is seen, heard and interpreted. Our intent with advocating for these changes gives us the opportunity to build on positivity, encouragement and empowerment.”
Sonja Grbevski, VP Clinical Services, Mental Health & Addictions, HDGH, and Executive Lead, Addictions & Collaborative Programs, CMHA-WECB

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