Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square to be Renamed Marshall McLuhan Square?


Tyler Anderson/National Post

Tyler Anderson/National Post – A view of Yonge Dundas Square in Toronto, Ontario, Friday, August 24, 2012

National Post readers Friday picked a new name for the square on the north-east corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets: Toronto Commons.

With 475 votes, Toronto Commons beat out Sam’s Square (in honour of Sam the Record Man, which stood nearby); Sam’s Square garnered 206 votes. William Lyon Mackenzie Square earned 132 votes; Marshall McLuhan Square, 125 votes; Jane Creba Square, 119 votes; and poor Neil Young Square, just 76 votes.

The name Toronto Commons came from Michael Kushnir, 28, who moved here from Vancouver three months ago because he loves Toronto, he said Friday … When the square at Yonge and Dundas streets opened in 2003, the city said it would sell the naming rights for $5-million. We asked readers to submit a source of funding. In his nomination Mr. Kushnir suggested, “why doesn’t the city retain it for its own branding purposes?”

On the phone he elaborated: “Cities need to see themselves as enterprises in their own right, competing for labour as opposed to capital. And the square has become this very iconic gathering place.”

The overwhelming response to our contest shows Toronto agrees we need a local name to replace the lazy label, Yonge-Dundas Square, which city bureaucrats stuck on the place. George Yonge and Henry Dundas were two Brits who never visited Canada. Twenty more names poured in Friday, including Toronto Peacekeeping Square, Imperial Square, Terry Fox Square and Tecumseh Place (named for a native hero of the War of 1812). In a week, readers suggested 117 names, most steering clear of politicians. “I first thought of naming the square Jack Layton Square, but I believe that politics/politicians should be kept out of it totally,” writes reader Michael Boltman. National Post – Peter Kuitenbrouwer. 


What is the likelihood of the name Marshall McLuhan Square being used? In a word – scant. Public edifices in Canada are mostly named in honour of politicians, as if their use of public monies derived from taxes to be spent for public benefit somehow elevates them in importance and enobles them. Other buildings and spaces are named in honour of the wealthy donors or corporations who buy the naming rights. That is why we have so few spaces and places named in honour of our writers, artists and thinkers, which is one reason why Toronto is in danger of being viewed internationally as “nekulturny”. As for calling it “Toronto Commons”, “commons” is a noun, not a proper name; it describes what the space is for and is not very creative as a proper name….AlexK


Billboards and large-screen displays powered by neon, LCD and LED mounted on buildings in Yonge-Dundas Square, as viewed from the public square.

2 Responses to “Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square to be Renamed Marshall McLuhan Square?”

  1. I like “McLuhan Circus”.

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