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Pedestrians make their way past a construction site in front of Union Station in Toronto. City staff are throwing cold water on a proposal to rename the station for Sir John A. Macdonald.

Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

Toronto's city bureaucrats are pushing back against a proposal to rename the landmark Union Station after Sir John A. Macdonald – recommending instead that the plaza in front of the station be named for Canada's first Prime Minister.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong first proposed the idea, back in February, of renaming Toronto's busy downtown transit hub in honour of Macdonald's upcoming 200th birthday. The idea was backed by the city's executive committee.

But after studying the proposal, city staff have come out against the idea, saying in a report that the historic Union Station's "name and edifice are iconic and both are considered to be core components of the City's history and heritage."

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The report, prepared by the director of Toronto Office of Partnerships, Phyllis Berck, continues: "the general public and key stakeholders do not support the idea." According to the report, Heritage Toronto conducted an online survey, and 95 per cent of the 2,145 respondents voted against the idea of renaming.

City staff are instead recommending that a plaza set to be built in front of the station – which is currently undergoing extensive renovations – be named for the prime minister.

Mr. Minnan-Wong said he's happy with the staff proposal. "The decision reflects a compromise in the tradition of Sir John A. Macdonald," he said Tuesday.

The city's executive committee will debate the report next week.

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