Ottawa – The Commemorative Naming Committee is recommending that the new City of Ottawa Archives and Library building be named the James Bartleman Archives and Library Materials Centre honouring Ontario’s first aboriginal Lieutenant-Governor, noted author and lifelong public servant, James K. Bartleman.

“I believe that naming our wonderful new building in honour of James Bartleman is a fitting tribute to an exemplary Canadian who spent much of his life in our city,” said Mayor Jim Watson, Chair of the Finance and Economic Development Committee and a member of the Commemorative Naming Committee. “Mr. Bartleman’s contributions to our community, province and country are perhaps not well enough known as he has always been very modest and low-key about his own tremendous achievements.”

James Bartleman’s career as a diplomat spanned more than 35 years and through it all he called Ottawa home – living on St. Laurent Boulevard, Sweetland Avenue and, finally, on Dunloe Avenue in Manor Park. Mr. Bartleman served and represented Canadians around the globe in many capacities in Bangladesh, Cuba, Cyprus, Israel, South Africa, Australia and the European Union. He also served as a senior foreign affairs advisor to prime ministers and ministers.

Mr. Bartleman was then sworn in as Ontario’s 27th Lieutenant-Governor on March 7, 2002. As the Vice Regal representative he set three priorities – to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness, to fight racism and discrimination, and to encourage aboriginal young people – all of which represent the spirit of community-building and public service that are the hallmarks of his life.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Book Drive, which Bartleman initiated in 2004, exemplifies his commitment to people. This remarkable effort collected 1.2 million good used books for First Nations schools and Native Friendship Centres throughout Ontario. The following year Bartleman started a Twinning Program for native and non-native schools in Ontario and Nunavut, and established literacy summer camps in five northern First Nations communities. In the winter of 2007, he completed a second Book Drive, collecting another 900,000 books for aboriginal children across the north. In 2008, the Province of Ontario created the James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing Award as a legacy to Mr. Bartleman’s far-reaching vision and efforts in promoting literacy among aboriginal youth. It is a fitting tribute to the first aboriginal Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.

In addition to his many other achievements, James Bartleman has displayed his talent as an author. He has published several titles including Out of Muskoka (2002), On Six Continents (2004), Rollercoaster: My Hectic Years as Jean Chrétien’s Diplomatic Advisor (2005), Raisin Wine: A Boyhood in a Different Muskoka (2007) and, most recently, As Long as the Rivers Flow earlier this year. His writing prowess and his love of books are particularly applicable to the building being named.

The Commemorative Naming Committee made the recommendation after considering the results of a 60-day public comment period that began on September 2, 2011. The Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) will consider the naming of the City of Ottawa archives and library materials facility at its meeting on December 6, 2011. Following FEDCO consideration of the recommendation, the proposal would advance to Council on December 14, 2011.