New aquatic and community centre to be named təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre

The City of New Westminster is pleased to announce that the name of the new aquatic and community centre in New Westminster will be təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre. The name is the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ word for “sea otter house.”

The name was selected by a Naming Advisory Panel comprised of representatives from local First Nations and urban Indigenous representatives. The name təməsew̓txʷ is a combination of two words: “təməs” – meaning: sea otter; and “ew̓txʷ” – meaning: house.

The Naming Advisory Panel desired the name of the new facility to reflect a place where people come together, which was a key theme identified in the community engagement process. Consideration was also given to the names of animals that used to roam the area, specifically aquatic animals to reflect the importance of the river since the pool is a significant part of the new facility. The Panel identified the sea otter as representing the playfulness and joyfulness that will be reflective of the new space. Oral history confirms that the sea otter used to inhabit these waters where the freshwater of the river meets the saltwater of the sea. The sea otter is also a social animal that symbolizes a connection amongst communities and people.

“We are excited that New Westminster City Council approved the name təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre for the new facility. Having the facility name be in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ provides an opportunity for us all to be language learners in a time of Indigenous language revival and for communities and families to come together around shared values of learning, physical activity, inclusivity, and joy,” said the Naming Advisory Panel. “təməs is a playful and social creature reflecting some of the important stories that we heard from New Westminster residents. We hope that təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre will be a welcoming, safe and inviting place for many generations to come.”

Broad community engagement took place in late 2019 and early 2020 to gather input and identify themes to inform the Naming Advisory Panel rather than seek specific name suggestions. Themes of social connection, inclusivity, participation, and the facility as a “gathering place” were predominant in the engagement feedback.

“Actively and meaningfully working with local First Nations and the Indigenous community is a significant part of the City of New Westminster’s reconciliation efforts. Choosing an Indigenous name for the new aquatic and community centre acknowledges the importance of the history of this land and the peoples that have long lived here,” said Mayor Jonathan Coté. “I want to sincerely thank the local First Nations and urban Indigenous representatives for their knowledge, insights and guidance in leading us through the facility naming process. This has been a valuable learning experience and one that will continue going forward.”

In 2019, New Westminster City Council directed staff to proceed with implementing a framework to engage with urban Indigenous peoples in New Westminster and local First Nations to identify a name for the future facility that will replace Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre. The City created a Naming Advisory Panel to guide the development of a name for the future facility. The Naming Advisory Panel included representatives from Spirit of the Children Society, Qayqayt, q̓ʷa:̩n̓ƛən̓ (Kwantlen First Nation), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish Nation). The Panel also included a knowledge keeper, staff representation from School District #40, the City of New Westminster, and Councillor Chinu Das who participated as Council Liaison.

To learn more about the naming process and meaning, including how to pronounce təməsew̓txʷ, please visit youractivenw.ca/facility-name