Toronto city council has approved the renaming of Dundas Street due to its namesake’s connection to slavery.
Council voted 17-7 in favour of removing Henry Dundas’ name from the street as well as other civic assets such as Yonge-Dundas Square and Dundas subway station.
A committee will be tasked to come up with a new name by the second quarter of 2022 with input from the public.
The moves comes after Toronto’s City Manager’s office released a report in late June recommending the renaming as well as a petition signed by over 14,000 people that was launched in June 2020 as anti-racism protests sparked in Toronto and around the world.
Dundas Street, which runs through Toronto and several other southern Ontario cities, was named after Henry Dundas, an 18th-century politician who delayed Britain’s abolition of slavery by 15 years.
The report also highlighted “Dundas’ role in the continued subjugation of Indigenous peoples in Canada in his capacity as British Home Secretary,” the City said.
Mayor John Tory called Wednesday’s vote a “very important moment.”
“I look actually carefully for opportunities to take away pain, to take away instances where people don’t feel included in a city where we are the most diverse city in the world,” he said during the meeting.
“You can never go wrong doing the right thing.”
Ridding Toronto of the Dundas name will cost an estimated $5.1 million to $6.3 million. Costs include renaming Yonge-Dundas Square, two subway stations and all related signage, the report noted.
The city also plans to make room in its budget to support people and businesses affected by the change.
—With files from The Canadian Press