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Proposed renaming of Dundas Street

See: https://toronto.citynews.ca/2023/12/13/dundas-street-renaming-cost-toronto-city-council/

By Michael Ranger and Michelle Mackey
Posted December 13, 2023 8:01 am.

Last Updated December 13, 2023 12:34 pm.
The renaming of Dundas Street is up for discussion at Toronto City Hall this week as councillors meet for the final time this year.
The cost to rename the thoroughfare has increased according to a report to be presented by the city manager. The original price tag was set at $8.6 million, it is now estimated to be as high as $12.7 million.

With city council facing an immediate $1.5 billion hole and a $46.5 billion budget deficit over the next decade, some are questioning if the cost is worth making the change.
Coun. Chris Moise, chair of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee, says there are no plans to rename the street immediately.

“It may be a long-term approach, but there are four city assets we are looking to change in the short-term,” he says, citing money that has been set aside to rename Yonge-Dundas Square.
Moise said Wednesday morning he will be recommending Dundas subway station be renamed TMU station after the nearby university. The Ward 13 councillor also shared that the school has agreed to cover the estimated cost of $1.5 million to rename the station.
The members motion would still need to be voted on and approved by council.

Coun. Stephen Holyday submitted an administrative inquiry as he questions whether renaming the thoroughfare is the best use of money as the city stares down a major budget deficit.
Holyday moved to refer the inquiry to an executive committee on Wednesday and the motion failed.

Inquiry disputes legacy of Henry Dundas
Council originally voted in favour of renaming the 23-kilometre east-west route, and other city-owned assets bearing the Dundas name, due to its namesake’s alleged role in delaying the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. After consultation with academic experts, the city found his actions contributed to the perpetuation of slavery.

Henry Dundas never set foot in Toronto, he was an active British politician from the 1770s to the early 1800s when parliament was debating slavery abolition motions.

In his inquiry, Holyday cites new archival evidence that he says shows Henry Dundas was genuinely seeking to end the slave trade.

“It seems to boil down to one singular act, a change that he made in legislature,” Holyday says. “Many academics have stepped forward to say they think he was someone who supported the abolition of slavery quite vigorously.”

City staff are working on the response to the inquiry and will submit them to Council this week. The city has previously said the renaming of Dundas Street “furthers their commitment to confronting anti-Black racism, advancing truth, reconciliation and justice, and building a more inclusive and equitable Toronto.”

Mayor Olivia Chow has previously said they would be moving forward with the name change. Former mayors David Crombie, John Sewell and Art Eggleton issued a letter to Chow and city councillors earlier this year, asking them to reconsider the decision to rename the street.

The city manager says staff and the Community Advisory Committee continue to review their options for potential new names for the street.

The committee is expected to report back to Council by the end of the month. The group is reportedly focusing on names that celebrate stories of Black Torontonians.
 
Renaming the TTC stations makes sense IMO, the rest of the renaming project... idk, we have so many other things that are desperately underfunded rn. Dundas West/Bloor GO should have a single unified name after they're connected anyway, (I'd personally go with Roncesvalles, even if the street has technically changed names by then. It's still the closest subway station to that neighbourhood.) and naming the station at Yonge and Dundas after TMU is also pretty solid from a wayfinding perspective, especially when they finally build the northern entrance at Gould St.

That said., I'll admit that I think naming our subway stations after streets no longer makes sense as our rapid transit network expands, and we should use more places/neighbourhoods for station names. So maybe I'm predisposed to favour new station names.
 
Renaming the TTC stations makes sense IMO, the rest of the renaming project... idk, we have so many other things that are desperately underfunded rn. Dundas West/Bloor GO should have a single unified name after they're connected anyway, (I'd personally go with Roncesvalles, even if the street has technically changed names by then. It's still the closest subway station to that neighbourhood.) and naming the station at Yonge and Dundas after TMU is also pretty solid from a wayfinding perspective, especially when they finally build the northern entrance at Gould St.

That said., I'll admit that I think naming our subway stations after streets no longer makes sense as our rapid transit network expands, and we should use more places/neighbourhoods for station names. So maybe I'm predisposed to favour new station names.
I'd actually be okay renaming Dundas West / Bloor GO combined as Roncesvalles. Bloor GO actually makes little sense when GO Transit traditionally names it's stations after towns or neighborhoods and last I checked Bloor isn't a neighborhood. If there was a station that *should* be named Dundas West, it would be St. Patrick station, but I think Dundas-University would be a better name there. St. Patrick itself has always been a confusing name itself, as well as all the University line stations. Actually, might as well rename the Yonge line stations as well.

Dundas --> Dundas-Yonge
St. Patrick --> Dundas-University

Unique and informative.

I would not rename Dundas to the ridiculous name that Ryerson chose for itself. It's worse than Vaughan Metropolitan Centre--at least that can be shortened to Vaughan Centre. What would you shorten Toronto Metropolitan University to? Can't shorten it to Toronto University because that's too close to University of Toronto. It was literally the least inspiring/offensive name they could think of.
 
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MM13.29 - Confronting the Legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade: Renaming Civic Assets Bearing the Henry Dundas Name - by Councillor Chris Moise, seconded by Mayor Olivia Chow​

Motion without Notice
Consideration Type: ACTIONWards: All
Attention
* This Motion has been deemed urgent by the Chair.
* This Motion is not subject to a vote to waive referral. This Motion has been added to the agenda and is before Council for debate.

Recommendations​

Councillor Chris Moise, seconded by Mayor Olivia Chow, recommends that:

1. City Council direct the Yonge-Dundas Square Board, in collaboration with the General Manager, Economic Development and Culture, to adopt the new name Sankofa Square selected by the Recognition Review Community Advisory Committee and report to City Council through the Executive Committee as part of the Report on the Governance Review of Yonge-Dundas Square, to adopt the recommended new name by the end of the second quarter of 2024.

2. City Council request the Toronto Public Library Board rename the Jane/Dundas Library, in collaboration with the General Manager, Economic Development and Culture, such that the name Dundas is removed, to be completed by the second or third quarter of 2024.

3. City Council direct the Toronto Transit Commission Board to:

a. rename the Dundas subway station in collaboration with the General Manager, Economic Development and Culture and Toronto Metropolitan University such that the name Dundas is removed and there is no net impact on the City of Toronto’s budget, to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2024.

b. rename the Dundas West subway station in collaboration with the General Manager, Economic Development and Culture and in consultation with the Recognition Review Community Advisory Committee such that the name Dundas is removed, to be completed within the TTC’s 10-year capital plan and preferably by 2025.

4. City Council direct the Executive Director of Social Development, Finance and Administration, in collaboration with the General Manager of Economic Development and Culture, the General Manager of Transportation Services, and the Chief Communications Officer of Strategic Public and Employee Communications to undertake public education campaign and strategic communication efforts to acknowledge the impact of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery in keeping with the International Decade for People of African Descent and report to the Executive Committee in the fourth quarter of 2024 aligned with an update on the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, and request the Mayor consider $50,000 to fund this program in each of 2024 and 2025.

5. City Council direct the City Manager to pause work on the remaining recommendations in 2021.EX25.1 until Council provides direction to resume.

Summary​

In June 2020, City Council received a petition signed by close to 14,000 individuals calling for Dundas Street to be renamed, citing its namesake Henry Dundas’ role in delaying the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

In July 2021, City Council voted to rename Dundas Street (2021.EX25.1). Council directed the City Manager to convene a Community Advisory Committee to develop a shortlist of new names for Dundas Street and other City-owned assets bearing the Dundas name, and a transition plan to support impacted residents and businesses.

A 20-person Recognition Review Community Advisory Committee (CAC) convening Black and Indigenous leaders, along with other diverse residents and business owners living and working along Dundas Street, was formed in fall 2021. Members were recruited through the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and the Indigenous Affairs Office, in partnership with City Councillors representing wards that include Dundas Street. The membership of the CAC represents a broad spectrum of leaders from Toronto’s Indigenous, Black and equity-deserving communities. The CAC met regularly over the past two years, with a brief hiatus over the municipal election.

Working within a consensus decision-making model, after two years of broad consultation, research and discussion, the CAC at its December 12, 2023, meeting unanimously selected a new name for Yonge-Dundas Square. The proposed new name for this prominent city asset is Sankofa Square. The concept of Sankofa, originating in Ghana, refers to the act of reflecting on and reclaiming teachings from the past which enables us to move forward together.

Reason for Urgency:

This Motion is urgent as it relates to considerations for the 2024 budget process.

Background Information​

Member Motion MM13.29
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/mm/bgrd/backgroundfile-241604.pdf
 
Personally, I think it would be nice if the TTC told the city to kick rocks and didn't rename the stations in question. But when has the TTC ever shown they have a backbone?
 
I honestly think just renaming the City assets is a reasonable compromise from a cost/benefit perspective - although I'm a little annoyed that the open goal of simply calling YD Square "Yonge Square" will be avoided.

convene a Community Advisory Committee to develop a shortlist of new names for Dundas Street and other City-owned assets bearing the Dundas name
Uh, I thought they'd be developing a shortlist, not making the final decision - isn't that City Council's decision?
 
In continued collaboration with the Community Advisory Committee's input and assistance, the City intends to release the shortlist of names for public feedback in the fall of 2023. Subsequently, based on insights from public surveys and thorough research into the historical significance and usage of each name, the Committee members will proceed to select a proposed new name (or names) for the street and/or square. These selections will then be presented to the City Council for deliberation in early 2024. Concurrently, updated cost estimates will be presented alongside the report to the City Council. At that time, City Council will vote on how to proceed."
So we're jumping the gun here?
 
I honestly think just renaming the City assets is a reasonable compromise from a cost/benefit perspective - although I'm a little annoyed that the open goal of simply calling YD Square "Yonge Square" will be avoided.
I think the reasonable thing to do would be to look at the facts and not proceed at all. This is just pandering at this point to low information voters.
 
Sankofa square......
How is this not cultural appropriation? The Ghanaian word Sankofa has nothing to do with Canada, unless we’re going to build a tent city for all the recent migrants from Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa?

We have our own indigenous nations and countrymen - surely they have a word that has both emotive meaning and purpose that we could have used.

We might as well have chosen an indigenous Mongolian or Brazilian term for all its relevance here.
 

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