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Yonge-Dundas Square to be renamed Sankofa Square and here’s why


TORONTO, June 28, 2024 – Toronto City Council has voted in favour of “Sankofa Square” as the new name for Yonge-Dundas Square and initiates plans to rename some other City assets that include the name Dundas. The name, “Sankofa” recommended by a committee involving Black and Indigenous leaders, refers to the act of reflecting on and reclaiming teachings from the past, which enables people to move forward together.

The City says 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. Toronto City council vote 17-to-6 in favour of moving forward with the name on Thursday.

The process to rename the iconic square in Toronto’s downtown core was precipitated by a petition that claiming that its namesake, Henry Dundas, a Scottish politician from the 1770s to the early 1800s, was a major proponent in delaying the abolition of the Transatlantic slave trade.

Following two years of consultation, research and discussion, the City’s Recognition Review Community Advisory Committee (CAC) reached consensus on the name “Sankofa Square” for Yonge-Dundas Square. The City says, Sankofa is most often reproduced as an image of a bird, with its body and feet facing forward, looking backwards to collect an egg from its own back, or holding an egg in its mouth. “It is a symbol of survival, reclamation and remembrance, created by unknown artists, talented people who were living through a human disaster of unprecedented scale,” reads a news release from the City of Toronto.

The 20-member Recognition CAC was formed in fall 2021 and was made up of Black and Indigenous leaders, along with other diverse residents and business owners living and working along Dundas Street. This name was suggested by representatives of the Black community who served on the committee, and of the many names considered, Sankofa emerged as the consensus choice. 

The cost of the renaming is said to be approximately $335,000. Mayor Mayor Olivia Chow and Toronto City Councillor, Chris Moise, have stated that if the costs go higher and according to CTV News they could go as high as $600,000, then they will need to be covered by the square’s board of management, financial partners and other sources of funding.

Additionally, the Jane/Dundas Library will be renamed along with the Dundas and Dundas West Subway Station. However, the renaming of Dundas Street itself is on pause due to cost concerns.

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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