Proud Rutland residents were out in full force this week defending the name of their neighbourhood.
A neighbourhood resident took to social media and suggested that Rutland should be renamed because of the stigma attached to the moniker.
“I love Rutland, I live in Rutland, it is a very nice community but the name does not reflect the real condition in Rutland. The name implies something less than it truly is,” said Bill Pittman who has lived in Rutland for four years.
He posted his comment to around eight different Facebook groups and received at least 125 responses. He says that reactions varied from group to group, and that some people agreed with him.
“A lot of people judge by the name itself,” said Pittman. “I had good intentions, there is no need to erase the historical value of it.”
The neighbourhood, on the northeast edge of Kelowna was named after John Matthew Rutland, an Australian man who helped found the area in 1890. Pittman has suggested “Matthewton” as an option to preserve the historical significance of the name.
He says that a different name would better represent the neighbourhood he describes as, “very nice and developing, there are renovations going on all over Rutland. Properties are improving.”
When all was said and done Pittman sparked a lively debate and ultimately decided to turn off the comments on all his posts for what he called snide and sarcastic comments.
“I have lived here all my life and I’m proud to be from Rutland….if you don’t like the name, move. Period,” commented Darren McClelland.
McClelland’s comment reflects to feelings of many of the comments left on the post in one of the groups he posted in.
However residents of Rutland literally wear the name with pride. The “Straight Outta Rutland” brand is everywhere—on the backs of vehicles, t-shirts and even the occasional beer holder.
The brand was founded by two Rutland men, Greg Greenough and Dale Martell. They own Valley Contract Screenprinting, the company behind the growing phenomenon of Rutland residents wearing their pride on their shirts.
Straight Outta Rutland now has its own Facebook page and features pictures of Rutland residents wearing their products while travelling around the world. Since their inception, Valley Contact Screenprinting have printed between 5,000 and 10,000, a quantity which Greenough said he never expected. The purchases have been steady as well, with peaks at Christmas season and in the summer months.
The brand name is a play on words, relating to the NWA song Straight Outta Compton.
“Nobody really relates it to Compton,” said Greenough in an interview in December. “Everyone who buys it for Rutland is for Rutland pride.”
And he feels they remain popular because of community pride and because Rutland-area residents enjoy sticking it to the rest of Kelowna.
“People born and raised in Rutland have always been super proud of (their community) and we love the fact that everyone else in town doesn’t like us,” Greenough said in December.
While Rutland sometimes gets a bad reputation, he describes the area as “just the working class part of town.”
“If I had done Straight Outta the Mission, or Straight Outta Kelowna, I wouldn’t have sold 20 shirts,” he said.
“Everybody from outside of Rutland hates Rutland… every demographic. But every age group (in Rutland) loves the fact they’re from Rutland and nobody else likes us. We find it funny.”
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