Mississauga shoots down notion to change name of Dundas St.


Published January 19, 2022 at 3:34 pm

Any official talk of renaming Dundas St. in Mississauga has been put to rest with City council’s unanimous decision today to consider the matter no further.

An effort by Ward 9 Councillor Pat Saito to defer the motion until some members of her community had time to organize and present their case for renaming the major east-west street was unsuccessful.

In tabling the motion that no further consideration be given to renaming Dundas St. in Mississauga, Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish spoke strongly in favour of spending the money elsewhere in the city where it’s needed.

City staff estimated it would cost about $1.8 million in taxpayer money to change the name Dundas St.

Additionally, the many businesses along the major Mississauga route would take financial hits related to a changing of business address.

Parrish described efforts to rename the street as “frivolous.”

Many councillors who’ve spoken publicly on the matter have stated their opposition to a name change, suggesting it could be a slippery slope.

Also, as Mayor Bonnie Crombie told insauga.com yesterday,  “there is a certain sentiment on council among quite a few of the councillors that they don’t want to change names at this point because there are certain histories they would rather explain than change.”

The idea to rename Dundas St. popped onto the radar of Mississauga councillors early last year after the matter came to the forefront in Toronto.

City of Toronto Council decided in July to move ahead with changing the Dundas Street name there. Subsequently, other municipalities, including Mississauga, considered a similar move. But it doesn’t appear it will happen elsewhere in the GTA. 

Toronto’s decision was prompted by a 2020 petition to scrap the Dundas St. name due to Henry Dundas’ association with the transatlantic slave trade.

Dundas was an 18th-century Scottish lawmaker with authority over Canada whose amendment to a 1792 bill before Parliament was said by some to have slowed the end of the slave trade.  

However, growing numbers of scholars and historians have come forward since to shed a different light on the role Henry Dundas played.

Many scholars have spoken out to say that it’s “bad history” to blame Dundas for causing a delay of the end of the slave trade.

The Scottish-based Henry Dundas Committee for Public Education praised Mississauga’s decision today.

“We are impressed and relieved that Mississauga has recognized the growing number of experts in British history who agree that it is a distortion of that history to blame Henry Dundas for delaying the abolition of the slave trade,” said committee chair Bobby Melville.

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