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Renaming Dundas Street is both useless and a massive waste of money

Look. I am all in for fighting racism and improving equality within our environment. But renaming Dundas Street won’t solve anything- in fact, it may hinder our efforts to achieve racial equality.

Yes, I acknowledge that Henry Dundas was an obstacle to the abolition of the slave trade. However, the main issue is that many people don’t think of him when the street name is stated.

What do you think when I say “Dundas station”? Well, the TTC subway station that’s near Eaton Centre. How about the “Yonge-Dundas Square”? That intersection with 10 traffic lights and a buttload of stores. “Dundas Ave.”? The long street in downtown Toronto.

Renaming Dundas Street would require the replacement of a combined 1500+ signs (excluding PATH signage), the renaming of landmarks like Yonge-Dundas Square, and the countless businesses/homes that now need to replace their own private signs to accumulate for this change. The estimated cost to the city alone would be $3.02 million per a City of Toronto report dated 8 September 2020.

I do not see this expense as necessary when we could easily spend those funds on stuff Toronto desperately needs like transit, education, mental health services, and COVID recovery. The 3 million will have a massive impact on our city in combating racial injustice and easing the impact of COVID than renaming Dundas.

Furthermore, this is going to racialize people in opposing the cause of racial injustice. If taxpayers saw their hard-earned cash wasted on this stunt then they wouldn’t support efforts to fight racism. They would probably think that supporting these petitions would just lead to inaction and vanity projects. We can’t let that happen when so many are already skeptical of this movement.

If the city really wanted to disassociate itself with Henry Dundas, I propose to find another person who has done well to our society with the last name of Dundas. This solves the problem of Henry Dundas without costing the city much.

Ultimately, renaming Dundas Street is just a massive and costly PR stunt. And we shouldn’t buy it.


Feel free to rebut my points or ask for clarification through my contact information. I would love to hear from you:

Image credit: Pedro Szekely / Wikimedia Commons

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