Downes Family Honoured in Street Naming Ceremony

July 26, 2022

We marked a significant milestone for Mr. Arthur Downes and his family as we celebrated the naming of Downes Street in Lower Yonge Precinct.

Today, Toronto City Councillor Joe Mihevc was joined by Menkes Executive Vice President High Rise, Jared Menkes, the Ontario Black History Society’s Channon Oyeniran, historian Dr. Sheldon Taylor and many community members in a ceremony to celebrate the history and contributions of the Downes Family in Toronto.

Downes Street is an east-west street located in the Menkes & Pinnacle development in the Lower Yonge Precinct, a 9-hectare neighbourhood with a projected population of 13,000. The Lower Yonge Public Realm Plan outlines the design framework for the plazas, promenades, open spaces, streetscapes and other public spaces within the Precinct, providing a cohesive feel to the neighbourhood. Vital community services including a new community centre, elementary school, public park, and childcare are planned and under construction.

Dudley Sinclair Downes, immigrated to Canada in 1922 and married Icema Eulalie Davis in 1927. Dudley Downes was skilled at many things such as: tailoring, ship building and singing, but worked in building services. He sang for the Toronto Radio Kings of Harmony and was active in the First Baptist Church in Toronto. Arthur Downes, son of Dudley Downes, was in attendance at the event.

Arthur Downes (95) is a retired Justice of the Peace and has a vast history of being heavily involved with community development and sustainability. He has contributed to community and organizational level conversations on equity and inclusion on behalf of Black citizens residing in Toronto through his work with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Metro Toronto Police, the Board of Toronto Economic Development Corporation, and the Ontario Black History Society. Downes is a recipient of numerous awards including the Volunteer Award from the Government of Ontario, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Metal, the B’nai Brith Award. He is also the former Consul of the Republic of Guinea and he received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Mary Holmes College in Mississippi. He continues to be active in a range of community affairs. Arthur is also former Chair of Doctors Hospital. He is on the Directors Resource Committee and recently received the Order of Diocese of Toronto and the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Black History Society.

"The work of waterfront revitalization is about reclaiming and reconnecting our lakeside lands for all, which has also been an opportunity to uncover and acknowledge the history of people who have previously not been represented in the stories we tell about Toronto. We are building community and connecting it to our past."
- Ward 10 Councillor Joe Mihevc (Spadina-Fort York)

“We couldn’t be more supportive of the City’s decision to choose to name this street ‘Downes Street’ after the Downes family. Marking this milestone with us today is Arthur Downes, someone who has been heavily involved with community development and sustainability, served on many Boards, been honoured with numerous awards, and constantly advocated for equity and inclusion. It is especially meaningful that this community will be founded on the same principles that we stand for as a Company. As a long-standing City builder, we see first-hand that communities are not simply made up of the streets and buildings that occupy them, but are like intricate puzzles, only fully formed when all the pieces come together- leaders, people, culture, values, and policies.”
- Jared Menkes, Executive Vice President High Rise at Menkes Developments

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Media Contact:
Brent Gilliard - Office of Councillor Mihevc - 416 338 7112 -