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A school in Toronto, Canada, has been renamed in honour of Trinidad-born librarian Dr. Rita Cox.

Queen Victoria Public School, in Parkdale, Toronto, is now called Dr. Rita Cox - Kina Minogok Public School.

In a letter to the community dated May 26, Dr. Debbie Donsky, superintendent of education, and Darlene Jones, principal of the school, said the vote in favour of the renaming was made at the regular board meeting held on May 25.

“The School Naming Committee, in an act of solidarity, recommended merging the two names, Dr. Rita Cox Public School and Kina Minogok (All Things Grow Well Together). The name was chosen after months of consultation work with the Committee composed.”

The inner-city school, which serves over 700 students from many different countries, was founded in 1887. A new school was built in 1999. Many of the students are relatively new immigrants to Canada.

Dr. Cox joined the Toronto Public Library as a children’s librarian in 1960 and, in 1972, became the head of the Parkdale branch. In 1973, she pioneered the Black Heritage and West Indian Resource Collection at the branch. It was subsequently established at three other branches: York Woods, 1984; Cedarbrae, 1989; Maria A. Shchuka, 2003.

The veteran librarian retired from the Toronto Public Library in 1995, having served as head of Parkdale for over 20 years.

A park bearing her name — The Rita Cox Park — was established in 2008 on Machells Ave, north of Lamport Stadium.

 

Some of her awards and accolades include: Canadian Library Association Public Service Award and Black Achievement Award (1986); Honorary degree, York University (1993); Honorary degree, Wilfrid Laurier University (1994); Order of Canada for outstanding work in storytelling and literacy (1997); and Caribbean Tourism Organisation Lifetime Achievement Award (2019).

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