Local councillors urge renaming of ‘racist’ Dundas Street

Five city councillors whose wards include stretches of Dundas Street East or West have signed a letter to the city manager supporting Mayor John Tory’s call for a review of the naming of the street.

“We, the undersigned, have heard from many residents across the City of Toronto who are calling on City Council to rename Dundas Street due to the fact that the street’s namesake, Scottish politician Henry Dundas, was actively involved in opposing the abolition of slavery,” the June 12 letter states.

It is signed by councillors Joe Cressy of Spadina-Fort York, Paula Fletcher of Toronto-Danforth, Mike Layton of University-Rosedale, Gord Perks of Parkdale-High Park, and Kristyn Wong-Tam of Toronto Centre.

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“There are signs of historic racism on streets, buildings and monuments all across Toronto,” the letter says. “The process of renaming is one important step we can take toward challenging the systemic institutionalized racism in Toronto.”

Mayor Tory’s has called for a review process to be led by the office of the city manager Chris Murray, to whom the councillors’ letter is addressed.

The councillors are also asking that the review be carried out in partnership with staff of the city’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and the Indigenous Affairs Office, which Tory had also requested, as well with Black-led organizations, historical societies and local communities.

An online petition launched four days has collected more than 5,000 signatures so far.

[Update: as of June 23, more than 14,000 signatures have been collected.]