Calls to change the name of the City of Vaughan are surfacing as more people learn that it was named after a slave owner. This comes as people around North America demand that statues and city names be removed if they are in honour of racist historical figures, according to BlogTO.
Benjamin Vaughan was born in Jamaica to British parents eventually becoming a medical doctor, a political economist and a merchant.
He strongly defended the slave trade and owned hundreds of slaves over the course of his life.
A number of locations have been named after Vaughan and in his honour, including the Ontario city. There are at least three locations named after Vaughan in Ontario.
Many residents expressed their shock on social media upon learning the information and some were more shocked by the fact that a civic holiday was named after Vaughan in the city in 2013.
A news release published by the city in 2019 says, “Benjamin Vaughan was a highly regarded British diplomat. When Lt.-Gov. Simcoe arrived in 1792 to govern the new province of Upper Canada, he named Vaughan Township in honour of Benjamin Vaughan's contributions to foreign affairs.”
People are now calling for the city to change its name or to at least to stop dedicating a civic holiday to the man.
A petition for the changes has been started by residents asking people to “honour the people who made a positive, meaningful impact on our community.”