It’s official, Toronto. A staff report is set to go before Executive Council this July 6th recommending the renaming of Dundas Street and other civic assets with the Dundas name. The move was announced in a news release put out by Toronto this morning.
Of course, you may remember petitions last summer calling for exactly this, as the city grappled with global discussions surrounding anti-Black racism. In June 2020, a petition was sent to city council with a whopping 14,000 signature. It called for the street to be renamed, which led to the council’s review of the subject. It also opened a wider discussion on how embedded racism is within city names.
CP24 reports that there are currently “about 60 other street names across Toronto that require further examination, including at least 12 streets commemorating slave owners.”
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) June 28, 2021
Dundas Street is named after Scottish politician, Henry Dundas, who is known for delaying the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, resulting in over 500,000 Black people’s enslavement in the British Empire.
“Creating safe city spaces that foster inclusivity and belonging, especially for the Black and Indigenous communists in Toronto, is an important undertaking that we take very seriously,” City Manager Chris Murray says. “We understand that renaming streets or parks and monuments does no eliminate racism or discrimination, nor does it erase the past, but we are committed to taking steps to right wrongs in our mission to create a Toronto for everyone, for present and future generations.”
There’s no word yet on what the new name could be for the area currently called Dundas Street, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for updates as the situation unfolds.