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Proposed renaming of Dundas Street

vz64

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Why not to re-name Dundas to Dundas? I am sure there are quite a few good people with a last name Dundas... We can have a couple of memorial plaque placed in strategic places (e.g., Dundas Square, TTC station) that would describe "a good Dundas" deeds. Not my original idea, but I think the solution might shoot two birds with one stone: save money and remove bad association..
 

W. K. Lis

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From link.

To uncover the origins of the word "Toronto," one must look at archaeological and historical records to determine who would have used the term and to what they might have been referring to.

The name Toronto first appears in the historical record as the "lac de Taranteau" on a map of southern Ontario produced in 1670 by Father Rene de Brehant de Galinee. Interestingly, the name referred to Lake Simcoe and not the area known as Toronto today. French "courieurs de bois" used the term but it clearly is not French. One must look to the native languages spoken in the region to see whether there is a clue to its origins.

The social and political situation in southern Ontario was in a state of flux in the 1600s. Huron peoples lived in the Lake Simcoe region during the first half of the 17th century. Their word "Ouentaronk" is recorded in early European journals with a variety of spellings. There are possible meanings "poles spaced over a distance" or "poles that cross."

The Huron were driven out of the Lake Simcoe area around 1650. By 1666, members of the Iroquois Confederacy -- Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca -- had moved into southern Ontario, so it should not be surprising that a Mohawk word was being used for Lake Simcoe. Allowing for different spellings, Lake Simcoe was called some version of "Taronto" between 1670 and 1710. The root "-ront" refers to trees. The original word might have been "Tkaranto" meaning "where there are trees in water."

By the end of the 17th Century, the Iroquois too were driven out of southern Ontario by the Ahnisnabe -- Ojibwa, Odawa, Chippewa, and Mississauga peoples. The Ahnishnabe newcomers also referred to poles or other wooden features in water, though the name was attached not so much to Lake Simcoe itself but to the Narrows, the body of fast-flowing water between Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. They called the Narrows "Mitchikan," Ahnishnabe for fence, enclosure, or hedge. A term similar in meaning was used by the French as they became more frequent visitors to the area. They called it "Lac aux Claies," the last word signifying a barrier, enclosure, or grating.

Having seen the image of trees or poles in water used in four different tongues -- Huron, Mohawk, Ahnishnabe, and French -- what was this set of poles or trees that formed a fence, barrier, or enclosure? It was a fish weir that crossed the Narrows. It consisted of a system of poles and nets. Fish could swim past the poles but would get caught in the nets. We know from the archaeology of the area and from the early writings of Samuel de Champlain that there were fish weirs in the Narrows that would have provided a bountiful supply of fish at various times of the year, particularly during the spring run of walleye, pike, sucker, and sturgeon.

With all of the evidence pointing to Lake Simcoe, how did the name get moved south to Toronto? It began as an infrequent copy error; old maps and descriptions of canoe routes were copied by hand and circulated widely and transcription errors could survive unquestioned for years. In the 1720s, "Toronto" became associated with a post by the mouth of the Humber River, the starting place for the "Carrying Place," the canoe and portage route from Lake Ontario to the waters that flowed into the upper Great Lakes.

The reader might well wonder what of the famous "meeting place" interpretation that appears in most sources. This putative translation was popularized by the 19th century historian Henry Scadding, well-known for his writings about Toronto. Like many well-meaning writers of his time, he tackled native words in ignorance of the grammar and semantics of native languages. Scadding mistakenly connected "Toronto" (which he felt was a more accurate representation of the word than "Taronto") with "atonronton," a Huron verb meaning "to be plenty." A "meeting place" could be thought of as "plenty of people," but to have this meaning, the verb would need to be altered to "ondatonronton" or "ayontonronton" ("they are plenty".) This is a long way from "Taranteau." As they say in some parts, "You can't get there from here."

So, let's rename Dundas Street to either Taranteau, Taronto, or Tkaranto, Street.
 

ssiguy2

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I very rarely wade into anything on this site than transportation but in this case I had too.

I find this whole notion about renaming everything as utterly absurd. I bet 99% of Torontonians had absolutely no idea that the road was named after a person but rather being the road that took you to Dundas Ont. Alas, some racial Drama Queens got involved to change the name of a historic street and the politician lapdogs fell for it.

Where exactly does this end? Are the suggested name replacements mean the people themselves are to be held to today's standards as well? I guess that means than any one of these people must also have been advocating SSM, reproductive choice, and have no religious beliefs at all lest they hurt someone's feelings................good luck with that. If they decide to do that practically every street in the city will have to be renamed. Hell, you better start thinking for a new name for your city. After all Toronto is a native word for "the meeting place" in reference to all the rivers that converge there...........cultural appropriation don't ya know.

There are many Dundas Streets in Ontario and the most noteworthy being in my hometown of London. It starts at the Thames, is the centre of downtown and heads east to {you guesses it}, the town of Dundas. I hope London isn't stupid enough to follow Toronto's lead.
 
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Mystic Point

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The Religion of WOKE dictates everything is about race and it’s up to them to find it and expose it to us non-believers. Racism is in everything, geology, music, mathematics, science, engineering, breakfast, lunch, dinner, architecture, downhill skiing, ice hockey, mattress sales, power tools, marine life.
 

zang

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The man was literally responsible for over a half a million additional people being enslaved under British rule.


This wasn’t “he treated a black person badly once”, rather his massive political sway, and motion on an abolition vote lead to additional human beings becoming livestock.

That so many here seem so willing to use slippery slope arguments and false equivalencies to argue against this idea of “wokeness” speaks volumes. It was never about the cost. It was the idea that past wrongdoings shouldn’t have to be rectified, because change is too hard and too offensive to the discompassionate amongst us; that virtue signaling your disgust for change that recognizes other human being trumps all.

Congrats. You’ve demonstrated your willingness to defend racism in the name of being anti-anti-racism. Gold star!
 

Northern Light

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The man was literally responsible for over a half a million additional people being enslaved under British rule.


This wasn’t “he treated a black person badly once”, rather his massive political sway, and motion on an abolition vote lead to additional human beings becoming livestock.

This is not accurate. Any way you cut it Zang you really harm your case when you say things for which there is NO evidence.
The only way in which your statement could be true is if Wilberforce's original Abolition bill stood a chance of passing. It did not. There was zero chance of it passing as best anyone can tell.
It was soundly defeated in a previous vote only a year earlier, it wasn't remotely close.
(163-88)

There may be an argument that by inserting the word 'gradual' into the bill that he gave the government leeway for further delay; but the alternative, a defeated bill, would have done the same and more.
Its worth noting that Dundas subsequently proposed a date of 1796 for implementation of abolition.
This was after the House rejected 1794 and 1795. It passed. But it failed in the House of Lords. Therein lies to delay to 1807 which is when the Trade was actually banned in a bill approved by the House of Lords.


This means the bulk of your 500,000 additional slaves occurred AFTER an abolition bill, with a hard date of 1796, initiated by Dundas, passed the House.

There is nothing wrong per se with advocating as you are; but please don't mis-represent what actually happened in history.

Its fine to say "Dundas has no meaningful connection to Toronto" . It might be fine to point out his role in some of the British handling of slave rebellions, notably in Jamaica, which while indirect (he wasn't there on the ground), was certainly ethnically flawed, to be charitable. (even by the day's standards)

Its also fine to accurately assert that Dundas amended a 'clean' abolition motion with some murky language. But it STILL didn't pass the House of Lords. On what basis then can we conclude the clean bill of Wilberforce would have? I can't see any such evidence.

People disagree with you for a variety of reasons on this file; though principally around whether the act of renaming is any other than meaningless window dressing, and whether or not its based on accurate recounting of history.

Its as ok for them to disagree w/you; as it is for you to disagree with them.

But lets stay factual.
 
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Davidackerman

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I'm jewish and there are many, many streets and landmarks named after Catholics, Protestants and yes even Prime Ministers who were actively anti-semitic. Mackenzie King is on the $50. These people were of their time It is part of our history and replacing them all with numbers, because numbers are the only acceptable non-judgmental naming system, is absurd! It also denies that we are flawed, and yes! It is part of our history. Moving forward I'm sure our street names will reflect out current values and times. And in 200 years people will look back and wonder, why is there a Ben Noblemen parkette?
 

afransen

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The only way this ends is if we rename everything to something completely banal or devoid of meaning. I have no doubt they'll come after the names Toronto, Mississauga, etc. for cultural appropriation eventually.

You can never please these people.
 

zang

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This is not accurate. Any way you cut it Zang you really harm your case when you say things for which there is NO evidence.
The only way in which your statement could be trust is if Wilberforce's original Abolition bill stood a chance of passing. It did not. There was zero chance of it passing as best anyone can tell.
It was soundly defeated in a previous vote only a year earlier, it wasn't remotely close.
(163-88)
Now, one can argue either way. By this time though, the anti-slavery movement was growing rapidly amongst the general populace, and the majority were opposed to slavery.

"By 1792, slave trade abolition had become the cause of a nation. Perhaps half a million men and women across the country refused to consume West Indian sugar in order to show their hostility to the slave trade and slave labour. The petition campaign of 1792 dwarfed the already impressive petition drive of 1788. In a matter of weeks, 519 petitions bearing approximately 400,000 signatures arrived at the House of Commons. On the side of the slave trade there were four. If public opinion could have decided the question, the British slave trade would have been abolished in 1792."
Abolition in Britain: the link between slavery and the British national identity

To argue it wouldn't pass based on the fact that it passed with an amendment is ridiculous.

But I digress, as this is about who Dundas was as a person.

There may be an argument that by inserting the word 'gradual' into the bill that he gave the government leeway for further delay; but the alternative, a defeated bill, would have done the same and more.

The problem is a) making an assumption it wouldn't pass, and b) couching the argument in the premise that Dundas was a pragmatic abolitionist.

The idea that the vote was set in stone before the "ays" were called isn't being intellectually honest and ignores his immense political sway—he wasn't called "The Uncrowned King of Scotland" and "Harry the 9th" for nothing. He was the Mitch McConnell of his time; by all accounts, able to solidify the entire Tory party at will. If abolition were his ultimate goal, he certainly had the clout to do so. Often leading the party against his own party leader and prime minister Pitt the Younger.

"Effigies of Dundas, known as "the uncrowned king of Scotland", were burned rather than those of the King during the political and social unrest that accompanied the outbreak of revolution in France. […] "Henry Dundas was a man who was at the centre of a web of patronage that cast itself around the earth. The Dundas dynasty was Scotland's greatest and most powerful political family since the Stuart monarchy."
Henry Dundas' private papers bought for Scots archive

As well, his contention wasn't that immediate absolution wouldn't pass either, rather that immediate secession of the slave trade would cause economic turmoil.

"Biographer Michael Fry publicly claims the motives behind Dundas’ delay were indeed economic: ‘there was no point in having an economy which had previously been based on slavery collapse. That would have served nobody’s interests at all’."
Henry Dundas: a ‘great delayer’ of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade

Its worth noting that Dundas subsequently proposed a date of 1796 for implementation of abolition.
This was after the House rejected 1794 and 1795. It passed. But it failed in the House of Lords. Therein lies to delay to 1807 which is when the Trade was actually banned in a bill approved by the House of Lords.

The original termination date proposed by Dundas was January 1, 1800. What was amended (and passed) was January 1, 1796. Further delays were the act of later parliaments.

Dundas was not an abolitionist; it seems rather an opportunist who knew abolition was coming sooner or later and having the political clout to do so, decided it should be later. Wilberforce put forward yet another vote in 1796 for an immediate end to the "gradual" and Dundas abstained from voting, though wrote in private that he would vote against immediate abolition.


"In the House of Commons on 23 April 1792, Henry Dundas showed his hand. Representing himself as morally opposed to the slave trade, he revealed he had ‘formed his opinion upon the propriety and justice’ of abolition from privy council evidence several years previously.
[…]
However, Dundas’ private negotiations with members of the Sub Committee to oppose abolition from 7 April 1792 - and given he never associated himself with the cause – undermines this benevolent self- characterisation.
[…]
By 7 February 1794, Wilberforce again re-introduced the resolution to suppress trafficking to foreign ports. By this point, Dundas openly admitted in a letter to Wilberforce he was practically opposed to abolition:


'I do not dispute that a great deal of very good reasoning can be offered on the principles you state; but I know with absolute certainty that the Bill will be considered by the colonies as an encroachment upon their legislative rights, and they will not submit to it unless compelled. Upon this ground I have used all the influence I possess to prevent any question on the subject being agitated, at least during the war. My opinion does not prevail, and therefore the only thing to which I can reconcile myself is being perfectly quiet on the subject; and even to that I should feel it very difficult to reconcile myself, if I did not believe that your Bill will not pass the House of Lords.'"
Henry Dundas: a ‘great delayer’ of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade

"Debates around immediate or gradual abolition of the Transatlantic slave trade and slavery itself were common among Edinburgh intellectuals and politicians. Henry Dundas (1742 – 1811), whose Tassie medallionsits in Room 7, held a variety of important posts in the government and wielded huge influence over Scottish MPs. As Home Secretary in 1792, he introduced the idea of ‘gradual’ to William Wilberforce’s immediate abolition bill. Anxious to placate the signatories of numerous abolition petitions, MPs passed the amended motion by 230 to 85, a result that was met with great relief from West Indian planters and merchants. Dundas worked hard to defeat each subsequent bill during the period of war with France that spilled into the West Indies, and the West India interest thanked him once more in 1796 for aiding the defeat of immediate abolition."
Remaking our histories | Scotland, Slavery and Empire

This means the bulk of your 500,000 additional slaves occurred AFTER an abolition bill, with a hard date of 1796, initiated by Dundas, passed the House.

Again, the date proposed by Dundas was 1800, and…

"Dundas suggested using the delay to concentrate on transporting young men and girls to the Caribbean plantations in order to increase the numbers of the enslaved work force."
Remaking our histories | Scotland, Slavery and Empire

There is nothing wrong per se with advocating as you are; but please don't mis-represent what actually happened in history.

But lets stay factual.

Quoted, cited from peer-reviewed journals and in his own words in many cases. How much more factual do you want?

I'm also curious as to whether I'm the only one who read the City of Toronto's own historical review. They wrote a brief, cited review;

"Staff have also consulted with more than 20 academic experts knowledgeable in the areas of public history, Black Canadian studies, and public commemoration to inform this report's recommendations and the Recognition Review project as a whole."

Historical Research on the Legacy of Henry Dundas
 
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syn

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I believe there's a sensible middle ground here.

Renaming the street after a person of colour (for example) who has made an impact on society is not bowing to 'woke culture'. I think there's a very fair argument to be made that it's a justifiable move.

There also hasn't been any push to rename every street in Toronto, so it doesn't make sense to me to blow this particular decision out of proportion.

Aside from the questionable history and the fact he had little connection to Toronto, I've never actually been fond of the name "Dundas" same for "Bloor". I'd say rename them based on that alone. :p

How about we honour our greatest city builders. Tridel Avenue? Menkes Way?
 

Northern Light

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There also hasn't been any push to rename every street in Toronto, so it doesn't make sense to me to blow this particular decision out of proportion.

From the City report recommending the re-naming of Dundas:

Staff are aware of approximately 60 other street names,
primarily small local roads, which could require further examination, including at least 12
streets named after slave owners.


Jarvis is one of the slave owners, and I'm quite certain there are a few other major roads as well.

So while I wouldn't blow this out of proportion, I am concerned that the logical principal, consistently applied, does entail a great deal more hassle and cost.........no less than 60M I would argue, and possibly a good deal more.
 
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syn

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From the City report recommending the re-naming of Dundas:

Staff are aware of approximately 60 other street names,
primarily small local roads, which could require further examination, including at least 12
streets named after slave owners.


Jarvis is one of the slave owners, and I'm quite certain there are a few other major roads as well.

So while I wouldn't blow this out of proportion, I am concerned that the logical principal, consistently applied, does entail a great deal more hassle and cost.........no less than 60M I would argue, and possibly a good deal more.

I'm sure they're examining options, but I doubt this will result in a significant number of changes, or major changes.

I wonder how many streets are renamed each year in Toronto. I know plenty of streets have been renamed over the city's history.
 

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