Tue. Jul 5th, 2022

When Toronto City Council next week votes to change the name of Dundas Street, people in London, Ont., Will be happy to take note.

Southwestern Ontario City Council is awaiting a staff review that last year was asked for street names, how to choose them, and when to change them.

The push for the review was triggered by a 10-year-old petition to change the name of Plantation Road for its racist connotations.

Since then, London and other municipalities have begun to take seriously the actions of those reminded of street signs and buildings, including a recent decision in London to change the name of Ryerson Public School.

On Tuesday, the City of Toronto’s executive committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a report amending Dundas Street and all other civic assets bearing Dundas.

Henry Dundas was an influential Scottish politician who opposed the end of the British Empire’s participation in the transatlantic slave trade near the end of the 18th century, something that stopped the abolition of slavery.

In London, Dundas Street and the downtown section, recently renamed Dundas Place, are among the streets of the city’s staff to re-examine for possible name changes.

Review of articles of association, policies underway

“The City of London is currently reviewing statutes, policies and standards related to street naming processes and approvals,” Rumina Morris, city director of anti-racism and anti-repression, said in a statement Tuesday.

The ongoing process will involve members of the community. The city was unable to provide a clear timeline for when the report will be presented.

“Staff will report back to the council later this year on any recommended changes that would support and implement the city’s commitment to eradicating anti-blacks, anti-natives and people with color oppression,” she said in a statement to CBC London.

The gateway marker at Dundas and Wellington streets, an entrance to Dundas Place in London. (Kate Dubinski / CBC News)

Section 12 Coun. Elizabeth Peloza, who first introduced the proposal to review London’s statutes for street names, said that while the process “takes a while”, it is “crucial to start on the right foot.”

“I think these are the conversations we need to have about how to deal with better policies in the future for street names,” Peloza said. “This discussion can be uncomfortable at times, but it’s important to have both as a community and as a city councilor.”

Peloza said she spent a “large amount of time” meeting and talking to various sectors of society to hear their concerns before bringing anything to committee and advice.

‘Adopting meaningful change’

“The ability to implement inclusive policies to manage street names going forward and a way to address street names that have historical concerns and the inclusion of different historical names as put forward by these communities is an important step in implementing meaningful change,” Peloza said.

Peloza’s proposal last year, during discussions about renaming the Plantation Road, called on staff to review the name change statute and report back on “any recommended changes to the process (s) that would support and implement the city’s commitment to eradicate anti-black, anti-black. -Natives and people with color oppression. “

Pushed to revise renaming policy – backed by the London Black History Coordinating Committee and the African Canadian Federation of London & Area – asks staff to review the Plantation Road name “historically acknowledges that the word ‘plantation’ has a strong link to slavery, oppression and racism. “

A list of concerned street names will be included in the report, Peloza said, but that does not mean all concern names will change.

City staff were also asked to create a list of potential community-hearing street names that reflect the contributions of London’s Historic Black Families, indigenous communities and people of color.

Staff will forward various options and “tools” to address concerns about different street names, Peloza said.

For more stories about black Canadians’ experiences — from anti-black racism to success stories in black society — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project that black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


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