City Council approved revisions to the Street Naming Policy in July 2022 as part of the City’s Commemorative Framework, under item 2022.EX34.6.
The Street Naming Policy outlines the basis to name or rename a street or assign a ceremonial name to a street. A street is any existing or proposed public or private street, lane or walkway within the city of Toronto.
Under the Street Naming Policy, the City considers commemorative naming proposals for streets that, if adopted, would enhance equity and inclusion in peacemaking and promote a broader understanding of history and its legacy on communities.
Commemorative naming proposals for streets must meet the criteria set out in the Street Naming Policy and align with the six (6) Guiding Principles for Commemoration found in the City’s Commemorative Framework, which are:
Guiding Principle 1: Be informed by historical research, traditional knowledge, and community insights
Guiding Principle 2: Be supported by communities through meaningful engagement
Guiding Principle 3: Honour Indigenous ways of knowing and being (Note: This principle is specific to commemorations of significance to Indigenous Peoples)
Guiding Principle 4: Prioritize commemorations significant to Indigenous Peoples, Black communities, and equity-deserving groups
Guiding Principle 5: Connect to Toronto, Ontario or Canada’s histories and cultures
Guiding Principle 6: Share knowledge and stories behind commemorations
Residents can also request the City to review existing commemorative street names in Toronto that may be considered problematic.
Note that commemorative naming proposals submitted since October 1, 2020 will need to comply with the Guiding Principles for Commemoration.
For more information on the street naming proposal process, contact email@example.com. In your email, provide City staff with your naming/renaming idea and where the street/site is located.
A completed Street Naming Form is required to propose to name or rename a street in Toronto.
Submit the completed form and required documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those interested in submitting a proposal for a commemorative street name are encouraged to:
All street naming proposals must align with the City’s Street Naming Policy.
It takes, on average, three (3) to six (6) months for City staff to process a complete street naming proposal. A moratorium was placed on naming or renaming proposals while the Street Naming Policy was being revised. As of November 1, 2022, the City is accepting new proposals to commemoratively name or rename streets and City properties. However, due to the moratorium there is a current backlog for commemorative naming proposals and the process may take longer than the average time frame.
All proposals to name or rename a street in Toronto will go through a Technical Review; and if proposed name is commemorative, the proposal will also go through a Guiding Principles Review. Your proposal will be reviewed against the criteria in the Street Naming Policy and the Guiding Principles for Commemoration.
You will be informed after the Technical Review as well as the Guiding Principles Review about outcomes, next steps, and if any further information is required.
Existing street names, City property names and monuments on City property may warrant reinterpretation, re-contextualization or removal if they:
Please visit the Commemorative Framework web page for more information.
Commemorative street names acknowledge the memory of people, places, events and ideas. They can include positive and honorific celebrations of the past and present, as well as the tragic, controversial and shameful dimensions of history and culture. If your proposed name is deemed by City staff to be commemorative in nature, your proposal will be assessed against the Guiding Principles for Commemoration.
Examples of commemorative street names:
A non-commemorative street name is a name that is generic, aesthetic or references a local neighbourhood feature (e.g.: current or previous uses, landmark, local flora/fauna, etc.).
Names that reference subjects of historical, cultural, or Indigenous significance will generally be considered commemorative in nature and must, therefore, adhere to the Guiding Principles for Commemoration.
Examples of Non-Commemorative Street Names:
Naming a street means assigning a legal name to the street. This is the name used for addressing and emergency response identification.
Renaming a street means changing the existing legal name of the street. To rename a street, 75% of residents surrounding the street must provide support through a petition, letter, or email. City Council may waive this requirement if the criteria in Section 8.1 of the Street Naming Policy have been met – meaning if the current legal name of the street is problematic.
Ceremonial naming assigns a secondary name to a street that already has a legal name. Ceremonial names are symbolic and usually honour a person, event or organization. Such names do not replace the legal name of the street.
If you are proposing to name a street after a person, event or organization – even ceremonially – you need to show to the City of Toronto that you have the named party’s consent or consent of the named party’s representative. You can demonstrate consent by completing and submitting a Street Naming Consent Form with your proposal.
If you cannot demonstrate consent despite trying to get it, City staff may move forward with your proposal if:
To name an existing unnamed street, not a new development, you must demonstrate community support behind the proposed name. You can do so by providing petitions, support letters or emails. Support can come from:
To rename a street, you must demonstrate support from 75% of residents surrounding the street. For further information, contact email@example.com
To assign a ceremonial street name to an existing street, you must demonstrate community support behind the proposed name. You can do so by providing petitions, support letters or emails from those in the community, including residents, those who work in the area and/or the Local Councillor.
Toronto Public Library (TPL) is the largest public library system in Canada. TPL provides free access cards for the residents of Toronto.
The TPL has a great Local History and Genealogy page with links to online tools, research guides, books and local history collection. For in-person help, visit a library branch with a local history collection. If you need in person help, Book a Librarian for a 30 or 60 minutes appointment.
Resources are available through the TPL’s A-Z List of Databases and provide:
Online access to:
In-library access to:
Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre is located at the Toronto Reference Library. It provides access to the Baldwin Collection of Canadiana. A large collection of historical manuscripts, books, ephemera, newspapers, maps and documentary art. Includes over a million Toronto Star photos.
The finding aid for manuscripts is available at Manuscript Finding Aid online resource.
At the City of Toronto Archives you can find historical records (information), including:
Visit the Using the Archives page for help accessing archives’ database for records and information.
For more in-depth research, you may try the following resources.
Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites and more.
The Canadian Encyclopedia is a collection of articles, lists, timelines and more about topics in Canadian history.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography is a collection of over 8400 biographies covering the period from the year 1000 to 2000.