dundas street

Toronto is officially looking into renaming Dundas Street

The city will look into potentially renaming Dundas Street in Toronto, Mayor John Tory said today.

A petition, which as generated over 5,000 signatures, is asking for the city to consider changing the name of Dundas Street, and has caught the attention of officials. Now a task force will be formed to look into a possible name change.

The street named after 18th-century Scottish politician Henry Dundas is proving problematic because of his position on slavery in Great Britain.

At a time when tributes to historical figures associated with slavery and racism are being reexamined, toppled or removed, Tory said during today's press briefing that "there is no place for anti-Black racism in our city."

"We have been clear about that, at the same time acknowledging that it still exists in 21st century Toronto and that there has been plenty of anti-Black racism in Toronto's past."

"That has sparked a discussion about Dundas Street, and other streets and spaces and installations in our city."

Tory said that he's asked City Manager Chris Murray to form a working group of city staff to "examine this issue broadly."

"Renaming a major street or public space does create many practical challenges," he said, "but we should have a process that can examine  our very important and relevant historical questions, along with all of the practical matters involved if such changes were to be made."

Tory said that the city does have a street naming policy and process, but "in light of the context in which this particular street name has arisen, a broader and more in-depth examination and discussion is warranted."

Tory said he's requested that the working group report back within 30 days on how the city should proceed with potentially renaming the street.

The push to remove tributes to problematic historical figures in Toronto and around the world has been growing, with renewed calls to rename Ryerson University and remove monuments to other Canadian figures.

The petition to rename Dundas outlines that the city "take a constructive and symbolic step toward disavowing its historic associations with persons who have actively worked toward preserving systems of racial inequality and exploitation."

Lead photo by

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