The City of Toronto is committed to addressing the legacy of Dundas Street and establishing a process to more broadly understand and respond to how systematic racism and discrimination are embedded in City assets, commemorative programs and naming policies.
In response to a petition in June calling for Dundas Street to be renamed, Mayor John Tory asked City Manager Chris Murray to form a working group, including the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and Indigenous Affairs Office, and to make immediate recommendations on next steps.
Today, the City of Toronto released a briefing note that concludes any decision to rename a major arterial road like Dundas requires careful consideration of its potential impacts and an equitable and inclusive public process that responds to the community at large, including Black and Indigenous communities, and addresses neighbourhood considerations as appropriate. The process should be coordinated across the City government to review the full range of Dundas-named assets and ensure consistent, coherent community consultation and communications.
The City Manager has committed to bringing forward a report to the Executive Committee meeting on September 23, 2020, and if passed City Council, that will:
This work is being done using existing City staff and resources.
Staff have begun assembling population and business data from a number of sources, including the 2016 Canadian Census and the 2019 Toronto Employment Survey. Key findings so far include:
The petition, which has been signed by more than 14,000 people, objects to the street’s namesake, Scottish politician Henry Dundas, who is believed to be instrumental in delaying the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, causing more than half a million more Black people to be enslaved in the British Empire.
The Dundas renaming petition is one of many global efforts currently underway to confront anti-Black racism and discrimination against other communities. Staff are working to understand how other jurisdictions are responding to proposals to rename streets and facilities and to remove monuments.
More information, including the City’s briefing note, is available online: toronto.ca/dundasreview
“The decisions of Council and the City of Toronto’s motto, Diversity Our Strength, make it clear that we must continue to take action to address anti-Black racism – as well as racism against Indigenous communities and equity-seeking groups – in order to build a city that is more inclusive, progressive and reflective of the values of its diverse members. Considering the renaming of Dundas Street is just the beginning of the work we need to do to build a Toronto where we all belong. I appreciate the thoughtful and thorough research and analysis that has gone into this briefing note by City staff and look forward to the working group’s future recommendations.”
– Toronto Mayor John Tory
“While the request from Mayor Tory was to investigate renaming Dundas Street, the City realizes there are wider implications that will need to be addressed, such as the importance of placemaking in creating safer city spaces that foster inclusiveness and belonging, especially for the Black and Indigenous communities in Toronto. We also understand that renaming streets and removing monuments does not eliminate racism and are committed to continuing to take actions to create a Toronto for all residents. This is a huge and important undertaking – one that we are determined to do carefully and properly to set a standard that we can follow going forward.”
– Toronto City Manager Chris Murray
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.