Thursday, December 14, 2023

Yonge-Dundas becomes Sankofa Square

UPDATE: The square has released the following statement (Feb 7): "On December 14, 2023, the City of Toronto announced that Toronto City Council adopted a motion to change the name of Yonge-Dundas Square to Sankofa Square. The Square will continue to operate as Yonge-Dundas Square as we work through the change over process that's expected to continue to mid-2024. Stay tuned for more information."

The City of Toronto has approved the renaming of Yonge-Dundas Square to Sankofa Square as they proceed with plans to replace the Dundas name on City assets concentrating on the Square, the Dundas and Dundas West subway Stations and the Jane/Dundas Public Library. After the Square renaming the other three will be completed in 2024/2025 while the renaming of Dundas Street is on hold until Council gives the go ahead to proceed.
Henry Dundas was a Viscount who was involved in delaying the end of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the late 1700s and had his last name used for City assets. Racial justice awareness brought the matter to a head in 2021 and the City decided it had to act to remove the stained legacy of Viscount Dundas. In addition to the renaming the City will also conduct a public education campaign on the slave trade and increase awareness of racial justice.
From the City's media release, "Following two years of consultation, research and discussion, the City’s Recognition Review Community Advisory Committee (CAC) unanimously selected the name “Sankofa Square” for Yonge-Dundas Square. The concept of Sankofa, originating in Ghana, refers to the act of reflecting on and reclaiming teachings from the past, which enables people to move forward together. This new name reflects the City’s commitment to taking steps to right wrongs, confront anti-Black racism and build a more inclusive Toronto for all. The Yonge-Dundas Square Board will report to City Council on details related to the adoption of the new name by the end of Q2 2024."

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