Dundas Bridge in Wallaceburg. Photo credit: Chris Taylor.

What’s in a name? A lot, when viewed through the lens of colonialism and reconciliation. But, sometimes names can be deceiving.

Toronto city council recently voted to rename Dundas Street, a major east-west thoroughfare in the city. According to a staff report the total cost of the renaming effort is expected to be in the range of $5.1 million to $6.3 million over two years.

The name controversy will not affect Wallaceburg’s Dundas Bridge, which is located near the Wallaceburg Legion.

Toronto’s Dundas Street is named after Henry Dundas, an 18th-century Scottish politician who fought against ending the British Empire’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. Dundas compromised by delaying the abolition of the slave trade by a number of years. He is also considered to have played a key role in establishing Canada’s residential school system in his role as British Home Secretary.

The Wallaceburg Bridge is named after Thomas B. Dundas. A former Wallaceburg mayor and educator, Dundas was in office over 100 years ago as Wallaceburg was expanding at a rapid rate.

There is also a street in Wallaceburg named after Thomas Dundas.