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A Vancouver First: Street To Be Named After A Person With A Disability

For the first time in Vancouver’s history a street will be named after a person with a disability. Jeanette Street, named after Jeanette Andersen, will be on the site of the proposed George Pearson Centre Redevelopment Project on W. 57th Avenue in Vancouver. Originally built in 1952 to treat people with tuberculosis and polio, the current George Pearson Centre is home to 114 people with complex medical and physical conditions. When the new development opens, the institution will close permanently and the area will be transformed into a vibrant and inclusive community for all.

Stricken with polio at a young age, Jeanette Andersen spent most of her adolescence living in an iron lung, viewing the world through a small mirror placed near her head. Throughout her life she was involved in many projects in B.C. including the BC Association for Individualized Technology and Supports for People with Disabilities (BCITS), the Provincial Respiratory Outreach Program (PROP), and collaborated with Board members at Disability Alliance BC to enable equality and inclusion for people with disabilities.

Jeanette was one of the first persons to live in the community and moved into her own home at Noble House which she helped establish as a model for accessibility. She was a long-term Board member of the Disability Alliance of BC, and a member of the City of Vancouver Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee for many years where she advocated for increased accessibility in city planning and housing. In 1998 she was a founding member of the Community Residents Mentor Association (CARMA). She mentored Pearson residents because she loved her home and she wanted others to have the chance to create their own homes. Jeannette remained a mentor and friend to the Pearson residents until her death on June 7, 2016 at the age of 77.

Vancouver City staff worked collaboratively to achieve this huge accomplishment with the Civic Asset Naming Committee and the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee.  It took over 7 years of advocacy and deliberate collaboration, but on February 10th, 2021 Jeanette Street finally passed. Once the George Pearson redevelopment is complete, a plaque highlighting her
contribution to the community will be placed along Jeanette Street.