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Toronto Council Moves Forward with Renaming Yonge-Dundas Square as Sankofa Square

This comes following a heated committee meeting last week where Mayor Olivia Chow and her allies reviewed the governance and operation of the renamed square.

Twitter ReddiToronto city council has voted to move forward with its plan to rename Yonge-Dundas Square to Sankofa Square.On Thursday, city council approved the decision in a 17-to-6 vote. The plan includes several changes including replacing all references to Yonge-Dundas Square with Sankofa Square and having the square’s board of management develop a new rebranding strategy that will increase revenue.

Back in December, the city voted in favour of renaming the square to Sankofa, a word that originates in Ghana and refers “to the act of reflecting on and reclaiming teachings from the past, which enables people to move forward together.”

This move was prompted by an online petition in 2020 that urged the city to re-examine the controversial role of the square’s namesake Henry Dundas, a British politician known for delaying the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

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Toronto to Rename Popular Yonge-Dundas Square after Ghana’s Sankofa Symbol

Initially, the city had planned to rename the entire Dundas Street, but that proposal was scrapped after it was revealed the estimated price tag to rename the entire street would have totalled to $12.7 million.

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According to Chow and Councillor Chris Moise, the estimated cost of renaming the square is approximately $335,000. In addition, any further costs will be funded directly by the square through third-party financial partners and donations.

During the committee meeting last week, Daniel Tate, who is a co-creator of a petition against the renaming, told leaders that this move is not acceptable and they will keep this in mind during the election in Oct. 2026. At this time of publication, the petition has over 32,000 signatures.

During Thursday’s meeting, Councillor Amber Morley who represents Ward 3 Etobicoke Lakeshore advocated for the renaming.

“Black people are Canadians too, Black people pay taxpayer dollars too, so God forbid we put a couple of dollars towards a truth and reconciliation to hold space for community members who have long been disregarded and discarded in violent and traumatic ways,” she said.

Online, many people are angered by the decision and believe it is a waste of taxpayers money.

“Toronto council has decided to waste taxpayer money when they claim there is not enough money for repairing the city,” one X user said.

“This unnecessary renaming is an appalling waste of taxpayer money, @MayorOliviaChow. There are other crucial priorities; like the serious public safety problems at Yonge and Dundas,” another user said.

“No one can afford to live here but sure, let’s pay for a marketing campaign,” another comment read.

“It’s clear no one wants this. It’s another fine example of the government not listening to Canadians,” another user commented.

Meanwhile, others are supportive of the name change.

“The people upset about this don’t have real problems to care about,” one X user said.

“How progressive! In the heart of the city that Ghanaians built!” another user said.

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