dundas street

There's a new push for Toronto to rename Dundas Street

An organization that has been fighting to get Toronto's Dundas Street renamed has just launched a new campaign and website to get residents more involved in the process.

The goal of Rename Dundas Street has been, for well over a year, to get the downtown thoroughfare a new moniker that doesn't harken back to a historical figure who actively opposed the abolition of slavery.

Eighteenth-century Scottish politician Henry Dundas is one of countless people of note from our colonial past that have proven to be problematic given their ties to things like racism and slavery, sexism and misogyny, residential schools, or other such oppressive beliefs and acts that white men of the past were unfortunately too often a part of.

After a petition to rechristen the roadway began circulating last year — accruing more than 14,000 signatures — the city said it would consider options to address the issue.

These include doing nothing; retaining the Dundas title but adding ceremonial plaques noting Henry Dundas's history along the route; retaining the name but renaming a few parkettes, a library and Yonge-Dundas Square; and fully changing the legal name of the street and other related civic assets.

If the latter course of action is selected, it would mean altering approximately 730 street signs, two subway stations, eight Toronto Community Housing Corporation residences, multiple transit shelters, 13 park signs, 31 Bike Share stations, a fire station, a museum and a public library branch.

Among the other historical figures that residents have suggested the street be named after instead are pioneering Black newspaper publisher Mary Ann Shadd, Black Nova Scotian civil rights activist Viola Desmond, immigrant rights champion Donald Willard Moore, and William Peyton Hubbard, the first Black politician elected to office in Canada.

Other proposals are far simpler, such as changing the "u" to an "o" for the sake of easier signage alterations.

Individuals can now contribute their own ideas and learn more about the movement and how to take part in it on the new Rename Dundas Street website and social media accounts.

Meanwhile, City staff will be releasing recommendations for action regarding the street name on June 29.

Lead photo by

Becky Robertson

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