dundas street

Toronto to officially rename Dundas Street and two subway stations

The City of Toronto has settled the Dundas Street renaming issue once and for all, with council voting on Wednesday to officially grant the thoroughfare and all assets that bear its moniker a new title.

This will mean that 730 street signs, three parks and 13 park signs, a public library, 625 Bike Share stations and Green P lots, a police division and a fire station, eight Toronto Community Housing Corporation residences, multiple transit shelters, highway signage, 60 business names including a museum's, and more will be replaced.

Also, perhaps most notably, two subway stations and Yonge-Dundas Square, all for a sum of somewhere between $5.1 and $6.3 million.

The ambitious move has been called for by residents and community groups for more than a year now and comes, in the City's own words, "in an effort to promote inclusion and reconciliation with marginalized communities" due to Henry Dundas's controversial and problematic legacy.

The 18th-century Scottish politician was said to have a hand in delaying the abolition of slavery in the British Empire during his tenure, and fails to have any significant ties to Toronto anyway.

As Mayor John Tory said in a release on the topic yesterday, "this recommendation is the right decision in our continuous path to building a Toronto that is inclusive, equitable and reflects the values of its diverse members... the names of our public streets, parks, and monuments are a reflection of our values as Torontonians."

The next, most fun step will be determining what will actually replace the Dundas name — an initiative that will be led by City staff, BIAs, resident associations, and a special community advisory committee comprised of Black and Indigenous leaders (and there are already some pretty great suggestions put forth by citizens).

The new name will be selected by April 2022.

As part of the process, a framework is also being created to help deal with similar issues moving forward, and to help determine future names of places and monuments in the city.

Though the push to rechristen the roadway has been ongoing, responses to this latest news have been extremely mixed.

Some on social media are now arguing that Dundas's history with the slave trade was more complicated than it is being made out to be, that most of the population had no idea who he was or why the street was named as such, and that this sets a precedent for most names and other assets in Canadian history, among other things.

Lead photo by

Jason Cook

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