Mississauga will reconsider how it names city streets

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Published September 15, 2021 at 4:54 pm

Mississauga is going to take a longer look at how it names new streets and potentially renames older ones.

Mississauga is hitting the pause button to take a longer look at how it names new streets—or changes the names of old ones. 

The issue has been among several on the front burner as City of Mississauga councillors have mulled over changing the name of Dundas Street, as Toronto plans to do, and talked about criteria for naming new streets in the city. 

Last week, City staff acknowledged a mistake was made in information provided to Council prior to its approval earlier this summer of two new names being added to the inventory of those that can be used when new streets are built. 

That prompted a call from Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish, who characterized the situation as “a screwup,” to review the entire street-naming process. She contends the City cannot simply name streets for people whose names are put forward because they are liked. 

In an exclusive interview yesterday afternoon with Insauga.com Publisher Khaled Iwamura, Mayor Bonnie Crombie, acknowledging the error that appeared in a staff report, said it’s a good time to pause. 

“I think Council is onside with pausing,” said Crombie prior to today’s Council meeting, where her feeling on the matter was confirmed, “because there has been a lot of controversy with respect to street naming, so I think we’ll go back and make it part of our larger study as we’re studying Dundas Street and a lot of the other streets that we had mentioned, and then come back with a new policy.” 

A report will likely be presented to Council later this fall. Among other things, it will examine the impact of changing the name of Dundas Street, or other street names and places, because of perceived wrongdoings of the named historical figures. 

Earlier, Crombie said she’s concerned about the consistency of the name of the street, which runs through several municipalities.
The mayor added that most of the people she has talked to about the issue don’t want the name changed.  

A recent poll conducted by insauga.com also shows that most people are in favour of keeping the Dundas Street name. 

Crombie has also said that the financial costs associated with changing the name are a big concern for her. 

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 Street 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 slowed the end of the slave trade.    

Meanwhile, Mississauga may reconsider its decision to add the name of a prominent member of the Sikh community to its approved street name list after learning he was not a founding member of a major place of worship after all.  

Two approved names, Jasjit and Jasjit Singh, in honour of the late Jasjit Singh Bhullar, are on the table for reconsideration. In a report to Council earlier this summer, he was mistakenly identified as having been a founding member of Mississauga’s Ontario Khalsa Darbar, one of the largest Sikh gurdwaras in the world outside of India.  

Several members of the Ontario Khalsa Darbar contacted the City to tell officials that Bhullar was not a founding member. 

 

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