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Toronto’s “problematic” street names are under review

“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,” said Toronto mayor John Tory.

Officials with the City of Toronto have flagged several place names that they believe to be “problematic” and racist. 

In July, the City of Toronto announced they would be launching a review of Dundas Street and other place names after an online petition called for the street to be renamed citing its alleged racist history. 

“In the wake of two weeks of protests against police murder and racial injustice, Toronto City Council can take a constructive and symbolic step toward disavowing its historic associations with persons who have actively worked toward preserving systems of racial inequality and exploitation,” the petition read. 

The city identified many street names and place names that they consider contentious.

“We realized other streets such as Jarvis Street, Russell Hill Drive and Baby Point are other places that are problematic so we’ll be working through a very thoughtful process,” Toronto’s Chief Curator of Museums and Heritage Services, Wayne Reeves, told 680 News. 

The City Manager is expected to bring a report on the subject before the city’s Executive Committee by September 23. 

One of the possible outcomes of the report is retaining the original names but adding additional historical information in the form of plaques. Some other possibilities include retaining the “Dundas” name for streets but changing it for municipal assets, or renaming all streets and civic assets.

The forthcoming report is expected to provide an estimate of the costs associated with renaming the properties and streets in question.

“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,” said Toronto mayor John Tory. 

“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.”

Meanwhile, Toronto has been gripped by a surge in overdose deaths and gun violence. Over the course of the pandemic, Toronto saw an 85% increase in opioid-related deaths. 

In 2019, the city saw an all-time high of 395 shootings, resulting in a total of 582 victims, 33 of which died, while 194 were injured according to official Toronto Police Service statistics.

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