Aug 15, 2023
By Christine Ross
The City of Toronto plans to release suggested new names for Dundas Street this fall.
Mayor Olivia Chow says she supports the change to rename the 23-kilomtre street saying it’s worth the cost which is estimated at $8.6 million.
For some, it’s a necessary step to confront the history of a city connected to the British Empire’s transatlantic slave trade. The street is named after Henry Dundas, the 18th century Scottish politician who rejected a proposal to end the British Empire’s slave trade.
Andrew Lochhead who started a petition to rename the street, says he is happy with the city’s decision.
“I don’t pretend for a minute renaming Dundas Street is going to solve racism but it’s an important first step in signaling on the behalf of our city’s government that they’re willing to put not only time and effort but also dedicate money to addressing these concerns,” said Lochhead.
But others like the province’s finance minister, are questioning whether the cost should be a priority for a city facing a financial crisis, including a looming budget shortfall estimated at $1.5 billion.
The city says despite the dispute on Dundas’s legacy, Toronto is going ahead with the name change and an advisory committee has chosen to focus on suggesting ones that celebrate the stories of Black Torontonians.