The idea of naming a street in Etobicoke after former Toronto mayor Rob Ford has been discarded for now.
Ford’s name was originally among 10 shortlisted by the city for three new streets created as part of the Six Points intersection reconstruction, in the area where Bloor and Dundas streets and Kipling Avenue intersect.
According to a city report, the family requested it be removed from final consideration during the public rating period, at which time the city invites the public to review and rate each name.
Coun. Michael Ford (Ward 1 Etobicoke North) said that while the family was humbled by the members of the public who put his uncle’s name forward, and would like to thank them, “at this time, they do not believe it is a fitting commemoration of the late mayor.”
“The family will continue to look for ways to honour Rob’s commitment and dedication to the people he so lovingly served,” according to Coun. Ford’s statement.
Instead city staff recommend that one of the new streets at Six Points be named after former broadcaster Jerry Howarth, a long-time Etobicoke resident and the voice of the Toronto Blue Jays for 36 years. Howarth was one of the first sports broadcasters to refuse to use team names that were offensive to Indigenous peoples, bringing the issue to the forefront, according the city.
Indigenous names are being recommended for two other streets: Adobigok (Ah-Dobe-Eee-Gook) Pathway, which means “where the alders grow” in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) and Biindagen (Been-Dih-Genn) Trail, which means enter, come in, or welcome, in the same language.
Before the shortlist was shared with the public for voting, it was circulated to Toronto First Responders, including Toronto Fire Services, Toronto Police Service and Toronto Paramedic Services, “to ensure the names are clear and do not impair the ability of First Responders to respond to emergencies or impair the City’s ability to deliver services,” the report says.
The report further notes that it isn’t often that the city has an opportunity to name new streets as few new publicly owned and built streets are created in the City of Toronto — typically most new streets are created through subdivisions or infill and developers apply to the city for approval of names they’ve chosen.
The names will be considered by Etobicoke York community council on Dec. 3 for a final decision.
The names have already been through an extensive vetting process, which included an invitation to the public to submit names.
The names had to portray a strong positive image, have historical, cultural or Indigenous or social significance, or be recognized by the local community, city or province of Ontario.
In all, 673 street name submissions were received from the public, which was whittled down to 80, after eliminating duplicates and suggestions that did not comply with city policies.
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Ford, whose brother Doug is now Ontario premier, served three terms as a Toronto city councillor representing Etobicoke and was mayor from 2010 to 2014.
Ford was serving as a city councillor when he died in 2016, after earning worldwide notoriety for his antics as mayor, including his admission that he used crack cocaine.
An attempt to name an Etobicoke stadium in Rob Ford’s honour was rejected by city council in 2017.