Monday, April 18, 2022

History of that campaign to rename Dundas Street

When the renaming of anything in Canada named after Henry Dundas was mooted a few years ago, I was sympathetic mostly on the grounds that Dundas, a British politician and Scots grandee, never really had anything to do with Canada. The reason for cancelling him -- that in 1792 he was kinda, sorta opposed to the abolition of slavery -- seemed maybe a bit of a stretch, even at the time  But I thought that names with local significance could well replace his. 

Now a little twitter flurry has brought to my attention a very cogent, detailed, sensible, and copiously sourced argument [link corrected -- didn't mean to link to myself!] from a couple of years ago that Dundas was indeed a lifetime supporter of abolition, at some political risk to himself, and a better parliamentary strategist for abolition than some of his more radical allies. So if Toronto goes ahead with renaming Dundas Street, I'll be okay with it but aware it's another case of bad history driving out good. Or should I say, good results may come from bad history? 

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