Should Langevin Pier be renamed Susanna Moodie Pier?

In response to the call to rename the West Headland from its official name of Langevin pier to something else, Wally Keeler has written to Council suggesting that the area be known as Susanna Moodie Pier.  The idea has been received favourably by many residents and acknowledged by Deputy Mayor John Henderson.  Wally notes that “Susanna Moodie stepped off the boat onto Cobourg pier in 1832” and that she wrote about life in the Canadian Bush.  He suggests that “The foliage of the pier should replicate as best possible the foliage that flourished at the time of her arrival.”

Susanna Moodie
Susanna Moodie

Judging from comments made during the current Waterfront study, a big majority of residents would agree to keeping the West Headland in its natural state and making it a nature preserve honouring Susanna Moodie would seem to be in keeping with that.  Wally quotes the National Library & Archives Canada which says that “Moodie’s portrayal of the Native people she knows is sympathetic” (and provides some examples from her writing) so it would appear that Alderville Elders and Chief Marsden may well be receptive to this suggestion.

Wally makes the case that renaming the pier in her honour would be for artistic reasons and would not be tainted with politics.

Not only is Susanna Moodie well-known as an author and arguably an activist, she is also not likely to have any negative background like Langevin so renaming the headland “Susanna Moodie Pier” should not be subject to any future objections.


Addendum – Council Meeting – 2 October 2017

The presentation by Meghan Sheffield, Nicole Beatty and Chief James Marsden was made as planned with no real surprises. All admitted they had not known about the official name of the West Headland so it’s hard to believe that the Chief was offended – at least up to that point. He did not say he was, even now.

Nicole confirmed that if the area was renamed, that a commemorative plaque would be a good idea.

The delegation information was referred to staff for a report. Debra McCarthy mentioned Wally’s letter and asked that it be considered as part of the review by staff.

Addendum – Council C.O.W. Meeting – 23 October 2017

Wally Keeler made a presentation to Council but instead of suggesting that Langevin Pier be renamed, he said that piers should be named and that since the East Pier had no name, then it was a good candidate to be named.  He wanted individuals to get involved with naming but his personal suggestion for naming the East pier was the Susanna Moodie pier.  Deputy Mayor John Henderson said that his suggestion would be considered.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 October 2017 11:45 am

I’ve changed my mind.
Why not just name it Keeler’s Quay or Wally’s Wharf and get it over with. That might give him enough of the attention he so wantonly craves and might be enough to get him to go silent for a while.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ter
4 October 2017 5:37 pm

Schoolyard trash talk. You can do better ter

Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 October 2017 12:49 pm

I can do better, but thought I would keep the playing field level.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ter
8 October 2017 12:26 pm

Actually you cannot do better. With your abysmal ignorance on display, you asserted that Susanna Moodie was in Cobourg only for one day. Not only do you indulge in trash talk, you also spew out incorrect information. She was in Cobourg for much longer than day — read a book ter.

Mrs. Anonymous
3 October 2017 12:17 pm

Given that few people knew anything about the official name of the pier, including the local Alderville chief and everyone calling it some form of West pier or headland, this appears to be more of an exercise in virtue signalling than any genuine attempt at reconciliation.

Adding insult to the whole exercise are suggestions and endorsements to remove the Langevin name and replace it with some other colonizer or settler name. Why would anyone think that would be appealing to First Nations? You can’t make this stuff up.

Now staff are going to have to use up their work time to look into this whole non-affair to issue a report? And our busy council who many feel are not compensated for all the work they put in are going to have to consider this made up grievance? What an incredible waste of human resources.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Mrs. Anonymous
3 October 2017 5:14 pm

…replace it with some other colonizer or settler name. Why would anyone think that would be appealing to First Nations? You can’t make this stuff up

Susanna Moodie is a settler. She took nothing away from anyone, especially land. She colonized no one. She is one tough woman, especially compared to the tender snowflakes of today. Moodie arrived in Cobourg with an infant. while in the backwoods she had five children and was expecting a sixth.

Canada’s premiere poet, Margaret Atwood, had this to say; “… the years [Moodie] spent in the bush were childbearing ones for her; in those days before modern medicine, when a doctor, even if there had been one available, wouldn’t have been much help, not all the children eventually survived. Mrs. Moodie is reticent on the subject, but she says at one point rather chillingly, that she never felt really at home in Canada until she had buried some of her children in it.

I know my family ancestors arrived a few years after her and settled in Sleepy Hollow, not far from her log cabin. They eventually moved in to Hulls Corners closer to Cobourg, then into Cobourg. None of them stole land from anyone else. None. They were settlers. Like Susanna Moodie, they lived in squalid conditions compared to today’s spoiled, pampered condo dwellers.

But then again, perhaps it should be called Pseudo Name Pier, in tribute to the abundance of mediocre commentating and ill-informed commentary on this particular issue.

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  Wally Keeler
3 October 2017 5:29 pm

Susanna Moodie did not have kind words for Cobourg in her letters to sister Catharine Parr Trail in the book Sisters in the Wilderness written by Charlotte Gray, although apparently Catherine thought it fine.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Mrs. Anonymous
4 October 2017 5:35 pm

No, she didn’t. And it is quite likely that none of us would have enjoyed a hardscrabble 1832 town on the edge of a wilderness. I have read Moodie’s books, and your comment has zero context, hence zero merit. Read her here:

It’s free. Don’t have to return it to the library

Bill Thompon
3 October 2017 8:44 am

How about naming it Corktown or Kerrytown for all the Irish immigrants that arrived in the 1800s and settled here.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bill Thompon
3 October 2017 4:56 pm

Go ahead, Town Council is there to hear you. A Committee will be struck at some point, so you can make your pitch there. If you are serious about it, then gather lots of facts and make a convincing argument, or did you just post that as a throw-away, hoping someone else will pick it up and run with it. So any takers out there for naming it Corktown Pier or Kerrytown Pier?

Although I am going with Susanna Moodie, your suggestion is not without merit, and it is worthy to point out that the only two individuals on this forum who suggested a name, use their own names. Notice how every pseudonym is opposed to naming it anything or haven’t a clue to offer one themselves.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Bill Thompon
3 October 2017 10:56 pm

My suggestion as a newcomer myself was made as a result of reading some Cobourg history and finding that a substantial number of Irish immigrants arrived in that location but not much mention is made of them.
Possibly they didn’t get recognition or maybe they didn’t do anything the 1800’s .
I thought with two areas being called Cork and Kerry town they might be considered.
it was simply a suggestion and possibly more knowledgable people could add to it or not.

3 October 2017 8:39 am

It’s always been the west pier to me, but if we are to replace the odious name, ( to some ), the Susanna Moodie Pier is a good choice – thank you Wally for the idea. Now, let’s get that Skydome name back.

2 October 2017 11:36 am

I am offended at the number of issues socially sensitive people can find fault with Get over it I did .
There will never be an end to it now that the door has been opened . Are we to be check out the offended , confirm the source validate the claimants wright to actually have such a concern may be !

In any event as we have already marketed the heck out of this name –Tug Boat Annies Dock comes to mind and the Yacht club
should become Annies Boat House .

1 October 2017 5:18 pm

Sympathize with Mr Keeler hope of non-politization but in our current socio mode naming / placement of a sno-cone would generate objections. Seems simple to me: Analogy – where do you put a walkway around a building or park; follow the worn pathway of course. Same goes for naming; if folks have been calling it West Headland Pier then so be it. It seems that we can no longer honour achievers of any flavour; you know some thing got broke or offended along the way.

1 October 2017 8:39 am

Why not simply Cobourg Pier?

Old Sailor
Reply to  Bgb
1 October 2017 9:16 am

I think the horse has left the barn on this topic. Only a handful of historian types know the name Susanna Moodie. If we have to change the name then “Cobourg Pier” or something recognizable to all might be better.

Reply to  Old Sailor
2 October 2017 2:50 pm

Tend to agree with you, gerinator and Bgb.
Other than stepping onto our west pier one day what else about Susanna Moodie is Cobourg related? Did she live in Cobourg, did she do her writing here?

From Wally’s letter:
“Susanna Moodie…And she was here, amongst us locals.”

Well, at least for one day.

Cobourg Pier… has a nice ring to it.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ter
2 October 2017 6:54 pm

“Well, at least for a day”

Such is the fruit of the provincial educational system — ignorance. She spent far more than a day, more than a week, more than a month, etc. living IN Cobourg. Yes, she did write about it.

She did a fine job of writing, far better than the mediocre comment of ter. Read a book, be less stupid.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Old Sailor
2 October 2017 6:46 pm

“Only a handful of historian types know the name Susanna Moodie”

Wikipedia describes her impact on Canadian literature: “Moodie’s books and poetry
inspired Margaret Atwood’s collection of poetry, The Journals of Susanna Moodie,
published in 1970. It was also an important influence on one of Atwood’s later novels,
Alias Grace, based on an account of murder convict Grace Marks which appeared in Life
in the Clearings Versus the Bush. She has also been a source of inspiration for Carol
Shields, who published a critical analysis of Susanna Moodie’s work, Susanna Moodie:
Voice and Vision. Additionally, the central character of Shield’s novel, Small Ceremonies,
is working on a biography of Moodie.

On 8 September 2003, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the National Library of
Canada, Canada Post released a special commemorative series, The Writers of Canada,
with a design by Katalina Kovats, Three million stamps were issued. Moodie and her
sister Catherine Parr Traill were featured on one of the English-Canadian stamps.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
11 October 2017 2:28 pm

We nominate you, Wally Keeler to stand close to the pier at every opportunity you have to explain to all who visit, just who Susanna Moodie was, should it receive this new name.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bgb
3 October 2017 5:19 pm

Because it is too simplistic and simple-minded; totally lacks thoughtfulness, lacks any imagination, lacks any caring about our local history. There, that answers your question very well. Now, thank me.

Mrs. Anonymous
30 September 2017 6:27 pm

Susanna Moodie, heavens to Betsy no way. She was a colonizer!an elitist! What wIth her fancy readin’ and writin’ and fine China from England! and was know to complain of the natives stealing her sugar! And she failed to have properly operating smoke detectors in her log cabin and it burnt down one night leaving her family homeless on a cold Peterborough February night! True, they didn’t actually have smoke detectors back in the day but that is really no excuse now is it?

Susanna Moodie, my goodness next someone will be suggesting Joseph Brant and well now we all know what a sell-out he was now don’t we?


Mr Ahewsonator
Reply to  Mrs. Anonymous
1 October 2017 8:34 am

Is it possible to quote someone using this new format? Also why isn’t anyone posting?


John Draper
Reply to  Mr Ahewsonator
1 October 2017 9:02 am

To quote, you can always copy and paste another comment – if this is not as convenient, I guess you win some and lose some. People are commenting – it’s often slow on the weekend.

Mr Ahewsonator
Reply to  John Draper
1 October 2017 9:54 am

To quote, you can always copy and paste another comment – if this is not as convenient, I guess you win some and lose some. People are commenting – it’s often slow on the weekend.

Yes unfortunately it doesn’t list the previous commenter this way but as you say you win some you lose some.

Reply to  Mr Ahewsonator
1 October 2017 5:43 pm

From John Draper:
“To quote, you can always copy and paste another comment – if this is not as convenient, I guess you win some and lose some. People are commenting – it’s often slow on the weekend.”

I would also suggest having the quote inside quotation marks and italicizing it to have it stand out from the rest of your post/reply.
It might help to name whoever it is you are quoting too. Only takes a second and it might help cut down on any confusion.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Mrs. Anonymous
2 October 2017 6:57 pm

According to National Library & Archives Canada:
“Moodie’s portrayal of the Native people she knows is sympathetic. She
exposes the greed and cruelty of those settlers who deal unfairly with Native
people: “The Indians are often made a prey of and cheated by the unprincipled
settlers, who think it no crime to overreach a red-skin.” She recognizes and
marvels at their generosity and sensitivity to the Moodies’ pride when the
latter are close to starving. She even attempts to understand and appreciate
Native customs, rituals and spirituality at a time when most European
observers took these simply as examples of paganism.”