Image courtesy Whitby

Dundas name change: Whitby mayor opposed to ‘cancel culture’

Toronto’s nearby Town of Whitby seems to have slipped under the radar of Dundas name change activists and petitioners.

“I am not aware of any proposal or campaign to rename Dundas Street [in Whitby],” Mayor Don Mitchell told Durham Post.

Whitby Mayor Don Mitchell

Asked if there is a related proposal – from council members or residents – that the council is studying, the mayor said: “I cannot speculate on what council might do but I am personally opposed to cancel culture and am proud to be Canadian and very lucky to live in the greatest country in the world.”

A representative of the Durham Black Accountability Coalition (DBAC) was not aware of any move to petition renaming of Dundas St in Whitby. “I don’t know if anyone on the DBAC team is taking action on this,” the representative told Durham Post.

Toronto City Council yesterday voted 17-7 to change the name of the street, the subway station, parks and other landmarks associated with the name of Henry Dundas, a Scottish politician who opposed and delayed Britain’s withdrawal from the slave trade in the late 18th century. Toronto residents started a petition in 2020 to change the name, and it gained wide traction and has been backed by Toronto Mayor John Tory. It was brought about as an indirect result of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last summer.

Henry Dundas never visited Toronto.

Whitby celebrated Black History Month in February and will mark ‘International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition’ on August 23 this year.

In Toronto’s eastern adjoining Durham Region with Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa and Clarington, only Whitby still retains the Dundas street name. In the rest of the communities, the name of the roadway is mostly King Street or Highway 2 [it is sometimes also referred to as Kingston Road or Old Kingston Road], and beyond Newtonville, to County Rd 2. Mississuaga, on the western border of Toronto, too has a Dundas St.

Dundas Square in Toronto will also be renamed along with same name subway station and other city landmarks (File).

Anti-Racism Action

The Town of Whitby has joined other Durham municipalities – and the world – in raising its voice against racism following George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin, and the resulting global outrage.

End of last September, it held its first webinar: Addressing Anti-Black Racism. It has set up a Whitby Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (DIAC), and has marked June as the Pride Month, National Indigenous History Month and Black Music Month.

“As we reflect on recent events, we stand strong against anti-black, anti-indigenous and any form of racism. It has no place in our community or anywhere in the world. As a council, we continue to work with DIAC and other members of our community to support a safe and inclusive town for all,” Mayor Don Mitchell, said last June.


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3 thoughts on “Dundas name change: Whitby mayor opposed to ‘cancel culture’

  1. Would the reporter please read the history again on Henry Dundas. You say he opposed the withdrawal of the slave trade. That is a lie. At no time did Henry Dundas vote against the Bill. He delayed the passing of it because, as the Bill was originally worded, there would have been no support from other MP’s. At the time the Bill to abolish slavery and the slave trade was introduced, most British MP’s owned slaves or were involved in the slave trade.

  2. At no time did I ever associate the name Dundas with an actual person and I suspect most people don’t either. There is also a town of Dundas etc. The relationship between the person and the street is long gone. I agree taking down any plaques etc. And not naming any new things after these people. Heck I attended Sir John A MacDonald CI and barely have a clue that he was the first prime minister let along any of his beliefs. I also attended Peter Secor, Earl Haig, and JB Tyrell schools. Again, I can’t tell you a thing about them. To me they are names of schools.

  3. whom can remember history that many years ago how true or accurate is it how about people with the name Dundas should they be changing their names too, with this covid people have way to much time to cause problems, but enough time to collect government cheques, i thought Toronto is strap for money
    bottom line nobody knows what happen that long ago except history books and storeys can be blown out of proportion

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