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Orillia removes man from Hall of Fame due to his promotion of residential schools

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Orillia is set to remove Thomas Gummersall Anderson from its Hall of Fame after an investigation revealed his promotion of residential schools for Indigenous people and his limited impact on the city.

"We were celebrating through the Hall of Fame someone who caused great harm to a group of people," said City Councillor Janet-Lynne Durnford.

Gummersall was born in 1779 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1993.

"He considered the Indigenous population to be savages he wanted. You know he felt they needed to be rescued to be civilized," said Dunford.

A committee that investigated his past concluded that the rationale behind his selection for the city's Hall of Fame should be recorded.

Charles Penny was a committee member responsible for investigating Anderson's past.

"He really did not have a major tie to the City of Orillia, and in the criteria, you are to have an impact on the City of Orillia, you are to be recognized as national or international figure and we felt there was not a tie a strong enough tie to the City of Orillia," said Penny.

Anderson was responsible for establishing the first native reserve in the Coldwater area. He then moved those First Nations from Coldwater so white settlers could take over the land.

The City plans to remove Anderson's portrait from the Hall of Fame wall and his biography from a book highlighting Hall inductees. City council will officially vote to have Thomas Gummersall Anderson removed from Orillia's city's Hall of Fame later this month.

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