Two high-profile public spaces in Vancouver's downtown core have been given Indigenous names as part of the city's ongoing reconciliation efforts.

The area previously known as Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza has been renamed šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn, and the Vancouver Art Gallery's north plaza has been dubbed šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square.

Wondering how to pronounce those names? Watch the City of Vancouver's pronounciation guide for šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn: 


According to the city, šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn means "a place one is invited to, and a place one is invited to celebrate," a nod to the Walk for Reconciliation event that began outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre last year.

The other name, šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square, refers to a place where cultural gatherings such as weddings and funerals are held.

Mayor Gregor Robertson said the names, which were unveiled at a traditional ceremony Monday, are part of Vancouver's larger commitment to partnering with the Musquem, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations under its City of Reconciliation banner.

"We've been very focused on building a new relationship," Robertson said. "We have a lot of work to do, to not only acknowledge and heal from the challenges, the troubles of the past, but to build this future together."

New signage is expected to be installed at each plaza this fall.

Here's how to pronounce šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk:

The names were chosen by a committee of city staff and representatives of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations.

Each uses words from both the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language used by the Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language of the Squamish Nation.