Unanimous vote allows public to give input on Dundas Street naming decision
Toronto city council voted Oct. 1 to adopt the first part of a plan from the city manager to review the name of Dundas Street.
The city manager’s report comes in response to a petition to change the name of Dundas Street based on the controversial history of the street’s namesake, Henry Dundas. The petition describes Dundas, a historic figure in British and Scottish politics, as obstructing the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in the 1790s.
Andrew Lochhead, who started the petition, said he supported the city manager’s report when he spoke on the issue to the city’s executive committee Sept. 23.
The first stage of the plan will allow the public to provide input on one of four options the city can take for the naming of Dundas Street. The options, presented in the city manager’s report, are:
- Doing nothing;
- Keeping the legal name of the street Dundas Street, but adding ceremonial plaques acknowledging the history of Henry Dundas;
- Keep the legal name of Dundas street and any TTC stations, but changing other properties, such as parks or libraries or;
- Changing everything, including the street name and any other city property with Dundas in the name.
The report outlines the estimated cost of each phase of the plan for each of the four different options. It recommends that the city opt to do something. It also establishes a framework for the city to address similar issues of name changes in the future.
City manager Chris Murray said the city will have a website dedicated to gathering input from Toronto residents. The city manager will report the findings back to city council in the first quarter of 2021, at which point the city will decide on which of the four options to pursue.