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Toronto City Council Selects Gord Downie Square Over Sankofa Square for Yonge and Dundas



In a significant decision impacting Toronto‘s public spaces, the city council has voted to name the renowned location at Yonge and Dundas after the late Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip, instead of opting for the proposed Sankofa Square.

The newly designated Gord Downie Square is poised to become a prominent landmark in Toronto’s bustling center, serving as a tribute to the influential musician’s profound contributions to Canadian culture and societal issues.

Gord Downie, a beloved figure in Canada, not only left a lasting musical legacy but also championed national unity and Indigenous rights with fervor.

Amid extensive public consultations and deliberations, Toronto residents and officials engaged in discussions before the final naming decision was made.

While the idea of Sankofa Square garnered support for its symbolic representation of cultural heritage and progress, the council ultimately opted to honor Downie’s impactful work and influence on the city and country as a whole.

Situated at the heart of Toronto, Yonge and Dundas is a thriving district known for its commercial vitality and status as a cultural gathering point.

With the renaming to Gord Downie Square, the area is expected to carry added significance, evolving into not just a commercial center but also a space for remembrance and contemplation.

Councillor Paula Fletcher of Toronto emphasized the profound impact of Downie’s music and activism on the nation, praising the decision to name the square after him as a tribute to his artistic legacy and advocacy efforts.

Despite the naming choice, the debate continues, with advocates of Sankofa Square highlighting its potential as a symbol of healing and progress, particularly in the context of present-day societal reflections and inclusivity concerns.

Some critics have expressed disappointment over the decision, citing it as a missed opportunity to reflect Toronto’s multicultural essence and the ongoing reconciliation journey with Indigenous communities.

As plans unfold for Gord Downie Square, organizers envision hosting annual events, concerts, and activities that align with Downie’s values of diversity and social justice.

Proposals for a permanent exhibition showcasing Downie’s life, music, and activism are also in the works, aiming to educate and inspire both locals and visitors.

Toronto’s dedication to Gord Downie Square highlights the enduring impact of his legacy on Canadian attitudes and values, establishing the square as a space for communal celebration and reflection.

Rachel Adams

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