Toronto city council votes to rename Dundas street, other amenities with same name

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TORONTO —
Toronto City Council voted in favour of renaming Dundas Street, along with other public amenities using the same name, Wednesday.

The council voted 17-7 to move forward with public consultation on a new name. 

The current name carries conations to Scottish minister Henry Dundas, a politician known for delaying the abolition of slavery within the British empire.

A release on the decision issued by the City of Toronto states that “addressing the historical legacy of Dundas Street” is a step towards “[challenging] systematic institutionalized racism and [building] a more inclusive Toronto for all.”

The city said that the renaming process will be led by a Community Advisory Committee to be comprised of Black and Indigenous leaders, representatives from the diverse communities living and working along Dundas Street and Business Improvement Areas and resident associations.

“This is the right thing to do,” Mayor John Tory said to council before voting to move forward with the name change.

Tory also said that the man “never stepped foot in Canada” and that his legacy should not be celebrated.

Following public input, a new name will be chosen in April 2022. The change will include city landmarks like Yonge-Dundas Square and Dundas subway station.

City manager Chris Murray told CP24 last month that it could take until 2023 to take down all Dundas street signs .

“We’re looking at 2022 to 2023 to first, select the new name, and then secondly to actually physically go and start to take down the name of Dundas on the street and the other symbols where it is used right now,” Murray said.

He noted that the city is contemplating “potentially providing some assistance” to businesses that will be affected by the name change. Murray said there are about 4,000 businesses along Dundas Street and around 60 of them have “Dundas” in their names.

Meanwhile, Toronto City Councillor Joe Cressy called the change “absolutely necessary.”

“Council’s support for renaming Dundas Street is a step forward in addressing the discrimination and systemic racism that’s embedded in our city and our country — work that’s long overdue,” Cressy wrote on Twitter.

The city also approved the development of a commemorative framework meant to “inform a more inclusive, community-centred approach to naming and place-making” Wednesday.

The framework will include guiding principles for how the city commemorates public figures and events in monuments, street and place names going forward and a process for reviewing other assets in the future as well, the city said.

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