Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow gave a vote of confidence to a motion to rename Dundas St. due to the alleged historical contributions of its namesake to the global slave trade.
Chow threw her support behind the project, which was first concocted a few years prior by former mayor John Tory.
According to spokesperson Shirven Rizvany, the mayor “supports changing the name and will work with the community throughout the process.”
Her vote of support came despite some former councillors who advocated for the project saying that the city cannot afford the $8.6 million undertaking required to make all the necessary changes.
“We don’t have the money to do it right now, and that’s been made quite clear,” said Ward 17 Coun. Shelley Carrol who voted in support of the project in 2021.
Following the pandemic, Toronto is faced with an operation deficit of $1.5 billion projected until 2025.
Even Chow herself has admitted that Toronto is faced with a dire fiscal situation. In an interview last month on shelter space for asylum seekers, Chow said that “the City of Toronto is broke.”
Critics of the plan have said that the evidence is lacking that Henry Dundas prolonged the slave trade – a claim many of those advocating for the name change have used to justify its costs.
As reported by True North in 2020, renaming Dundas St. and other similarly-named assets would also impact the city’s transit system and other critical infrastructure.
“Maps will need to be replaced in all 4,000 bus shelters, 75 subway stations, on-board all streetcars and subway train cars,” Manager of Corporate Communications for the City of Toronto Beth Waldman told True North.
Anti-racism advocates have called on all facilities that bear the Dundas name to be renamed. Those assets include street signs, transit routes, parks 625 bike share stations and other city properties.