Former South African president Nelson Mandela was honoured Monday afternoon at a street dedication ceremony in downtown Toronto.

University Avenue, from Front Street West to College Street, was designated Nelson Mandela Boulevard during an afternoon ceremony at 361 University Ave. The event was attended by Toronto Mayor John Tory, who was joined by members of the Nelson Mandela Legacy Committee and the Consul General of South Africa.

"Nelson Mandela is a hero to millions around the world for his lifelong commitment and democracy," Tory said in a statement released Monday afternoon. "It is an honour for the City of Toronto to designate University Avenue to recognize and celebrate his legacy of courage, determination and hope he has left behind for all of us."

Officials have previously said the Mandela tribute was ceremonial in nature and will not change the official name of University Avenue.

Last April, council passed a motion to rename a section of University Avenue in honour of the anti-apartheid leader, who visited the city on three separate occasions before his passing in 2013.

University Avenue was among five streets in Toronto that were in the running for the renaming honour. The other streets that were being considered were Queen Street West, from Yonge Street to University Avenue; Shuter Street, from River to Parliament Streets; Gerrard Street East, from Jarvis to Yonge Streets; and Bathurst Street, from College to Herrick Streets.

These streets are linked with Mandela's visits to the city . During his visit in 1990, a march was held on the University Avenue, from City Hall to Queen’s Park where Mandela gave a speech attended by thousands of people.

Mandela was jailed for 27 years under apartheid rule. Four years after he was released, he became South Africa's first black president following the end of apartheid.