dundas square

Google Maps updates Toronto's Dundas Square to new Sankofa Square name

People searching up what they know as Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square on Google Maps will now find that the tech giant has adopted the new name of Sankofa Square for the landmark intersection — a change that some are not happy with.

A resident who only just noticed the change took to Reddit on Monday to note that the renaming of the destination now looks much more official, with Google having approved the new moniker at some point.

Hundreds jumped in to comment on the matter, with many opposing the somewhat contentious new title announced by the City in December.

It's official
byu/The_Buddhist_Prodigy intoronto

"For all the community outreach, surveys and endless studies that the City will do before enacting even the smallest project, they really are happy to do sh*t like this that the majority of people don't want without batting an eye," one person wrote.

Others also called the Sankofa designation (and the millions the City is investing to instate it) into question, wondering what its significance is to the people of Toronto and pointing out how the new name — which comes from the Akan people of Ghana and means "to go back and get it" — is perhaps just as problematic as the name Dundas for the exact same reasons.

"The irony of replacing a square named after a flawed abolitionist with a word from an African people who were active collaborators in both the Atlantic and Arab slave trade is.... an interesting choice," another person added. "Even if it would be pandering, an Indigenous name would have been a much safer choice."

"Indigenous, Canadian, or a blend and just call it "Toronto Square," done. Why it's Ghanaian is a mystery to all of us," yet another chimed, to which someone else replied "That's the part that just leaves me flabbergasted. They went and used the language of a tribe that was directly involved in the slave trade."

After the rebranding conversation kicked off a few years ago in response to namesake Henry Dundas's ties to slavery — ties which some have called a misreading of the Scottish politician's life — thousands have signed a counter-petition to keep the Dundas name for the street, square and other landmarks in the city.

The City intends to formally get rid of the Dundas name from the square by the second quarter of this year, with the rechristening of Dundas and Dundas West subway stations, as well as the Jane/Dundas Public Library, to come after.

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