Photo Credit: kate_sept2004
Toronto Votes To Rename Dundas Street To Promote Black Inclusion
The Toronto city council has voted to rename one of its most infamous streets.
According to CBC.ca, the city decided to change the street name by a vote of 17-7 in favor of the motion. The outlet confirms that Toronto chose to do so in order to promote “inclusion” amongst Black communities and other marginalized groups.
In addition to the street that bears his name, all references to Dundas will be removed from other places throughout the city. These include the Dundas and Dundas West subway stations and Yonge-Dundas Square, plus three city parks, more than 700 streets, and a branch of the Toronto Public Library. (Really guys? Really?)
The street’s namesake, Henry Dundas, had a connection to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Stylized as the First Viscount of Melville, Dundas was born in Scotland and was considered one of the most powerful Scottish politicians of all time. However, his legacy has come under fire once the truth about his connection to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade came to light.
In 1792, abolitionist William Wilberforce brought forth a motion to abolish the brutal practice of human slavery. In response, Dundas tabled the petition. According to him, there would be “no benefit” to immediate emancipation — but “eventually,” he felt the practice should be abolished. (Uh, thanks?)
Fast-forward to 2021, and Toronto’s sole Black councilman — Michael Thompson — insisted that renaming all these city landmarks after this pillar of white mediocrity would be “the right thing to do.”
“History will remember not so much what it cost us to change the name — it will remember whether we actually take the right action. Our reputation is on the line,” he said.
It’s not clear what the new name of the street will be. However, the Toronto city council is set to come back to the table with new proposed names in the spring of 2022.