Gordon Lightfoot Square? Idea floated to rename Toronto landmark after late singer

Following the death of singer Gordon Lightfoot, a Toronto businessman has floated the idea of renaming Yonge Dundas Square after the iconic Canadian singer. Richard Southern reports.

By Richard Southern and Mike Visser

A week after the death of Gordon Lightfoot, an idea is being floated to rename Yonge-Dundas Square in his honour.

“I’d like to see the great Gordon Lightfoot memorialized in the city, and I think there is nothing better than the square at the corner of Yonge and Dundas,” said local restaurateur Arron Barberian.

Barberian, and his father before him, has been cooking steaks since 1959 at Barberian’s Steak House, located just a stone’s throw away from Yonge-Dundas Square.

Barberian is the former head of the local BIA and played a considerable role in creating the square as we now know it. He thinks the time is right to name it after Lightfoot.

“He’s the right person. He was integral in creating this neighbourhood as the entertainment and music capital of the city,” added Barberian. “I think it’s an appropriate way to honour that man.”

RELATED: Where is Toronto in the renaming process of Dundas across the city?

Barberian wrote a letter to the mayor’s office detailing his idea, which appears to be gaining traction.

“I think it’s a great idea, but we also have other ideas on how to honour Gordon Lightfoot that are coming to council,” said Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie. “That includes statues of commemoration, and it also includes Gordon Lightfoot Day in Toronto.”

The square’s name might have to be changed as city council moves forward with plans to rename Dundas Street. The cost of such a move has been pegged at nearly $6 million.

“City council, coming up to two years ago, made a mandate to change the name of Dundas Street and the number of city assets with Dundas in the name,” said Julian Sleath, General Manager of Yonge-Dundas Square.

“That process is still ongoing, so it’s ultimately up to city council to decide when and what and how these city-owned assets become named.”

The Dundas name comes from influential Scottish minister Henry Dundas. He never stepped foot in Toronto but is infamous for playing a pivotal role in delaying the abolition of the British Empire’s transatlantic slave trade.

City staff expect a report of the next steps in the renaming process later this year.

With files from Meredith Bond of CityNews

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