Roadway renamed to honour Indigenous leader and Brock supporter

Greenhouse Lane at Brock University has been renamed to honour longtime supporter Suzanne Rochon-Burnett.

The roundabout off Glenridge Avenue and the roadway near Mackenzie Chown is now called Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Circle.

The renaming recognizes the late Rochon-Burnett’s contributions to Brock as well as her efforts for the betterment of Indigenous students here and across Canada.

At Brock, she created a scholarship for Indigenous students in communications.

Suzanne Rochon-Burnett

Suzanne Rochon-Burnett

She dedicated her time to a number of boards and was a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for what was then the Faculty of Business.

Rochon-Burnett also served two terms on the Board of Trustees and in 2002 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters degree from Brock.

Rochon-Burnett’s daughter and Brock Board of Trustees member Michele-Elise Burnett said it means a lot to have her mother’s legacy recognized in this way.

“Paying homage to a lady who has paved the way for so many nations to flourish today, to highlight the dedication and deep passion my mother truly exemplified towards building stronger FNMI (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) communities based on pride, dignity and honour has touched me dearly,” she said.

Rochon-Burnett was the co-founder and first vice-chair of the Métis Nation of Ontario and served on the board for the Métis Nation of Ontario Cultural. She was also the president and founder of Kakekalanicks Inc., a board member of TV Ontario, The Ontario Arts Council and the Canadian Council of the Arts.

Born in Ste. Adele, Quebec in 1935, Rochon-Burnett spent her early years studying at a boarding school near Montreal.

She worked in broadcasting and was a successful model abroad for 15 years before returning to Canada, where she met her husband Gordon Burnett.

The family moved to St. Catharines and Rochon-Burnett bought her husband’s company, becoming the first Indigenous person to own a commercial radio station, which she operated successfully until she sold the business in 2004.

She died in 2006 at the age of 71.

Because the area where Brock is situated is on the traditional lands of the Anishnaabe, Haudenosaunee and Attawandaron, and in recognition of the historic efforts of the First Nations in the War of 1812, Brian Hutchings, Vice-President, Administration asked that the roadway be renamed for an Indigenous leader.

The Brock Aboriginal Educational Council had numerous discussions about the name and Rochon-Burnett was always at the forefront.

“When we can teach people about the beauty of our heritage, culture and traditions, we have a resurgence of pride and dignity,” Burnett said.

“Her legacy will live on through the naming and continue to inspire future generations.”

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