Toronto looking to host public consultations to replace Dundas Street name

Sep 16 2020, 9:55 am

Toronto’s Dundas Street could soon bare a new name.

According to the City news release, a City of Toronto report, going before Executive Committee on September 23, provides a few recommendations as well as a public consultation on the City’s response to rename Dundas Street and to address other civic assets that share the same name.

A petition was created calling out the origins and history of monuments, street names, parks, and buildings across Toronto following racial injustices, discrimination and anti-Black racism, according to the release.

“The petition objects to the street’s namesake, Scottish politician Henry Dundas, who was involved in delaying the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, causing more than half a million more Black people to be enslaved in the British Empire.”

The petition which was launched in June, called for City Council to “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.”

In July, the City of Toronto began the review and recommendations looking into renaming the streets and other assets.

The report will also include a recommendation to the City that it hosts public consultations on renaming Dundas Street and other street namings/renamings, “monumental removals and additions, reinterpretations and revocations,” then to report back to the Executive Committee in 2021.

“The consultations should aim to solicit participation from the public, residents and business owners with properties on or near Dundas Street, as well as Indigenous and Black community organizations,” said the City.

There are four options for responding to the petition, which evaluates the costs to the City and other impacts as well as a community engagement strategy and change management process for certain options.

If these recommendations are approved by the Committee, the four options would be:

  1. Do nothing (which is not recommended by the City).
  2. Retain the legal street names with additional interpretation and recognitions.
  3. Retain the legal street names but rename those civic assets with Dundas in their name, except TTC facilities.
  4. Rename the streets and all other civic assets now carrying the Dundas name.

If a decision is made, the report highlights that no new applications to name or rename streets or other civic properties on or after October 1, 2020, will be considered until a full review of the policies and programs has been completed by the City.

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