Chinese-Canadian Workers in Toronto

More than 4,000 Chinese workers died building the country’s first transcontinental railroad, yet most of the Chinese community faced discrimination and outright racism. Laws were specially created to oppress and exclude them. Yet they persevered.

Our panelists will take us through more than a century of the experiences of Chinese-Canadians: fighting back, organising and leading the way for many others.

Join the Toronto Workers’ History Project in this special livestreamed presentation.

PANELISTS

Winnie Ng
Activist, scholar, Chair Emeritus, Ryerson-Unifor National Chair in Social Justice and Democracy.
Jennifer Huang
Chinese Workers’ Network, Toronto and York Regional Labour Council
Justin Kong
Executive Director, Chinese Canadian National Council, Toronto

MEETING DETAILS:
Wednesday, 14 October, 2020
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
VIA ZOOM https://bit.ly/3cdNHuB
or, join us on through our livestream on Facebook
www.fb.me/TOWorkers

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Chilean-Canadian Memoria in Toronto

Click for the video on Facebook

On September 11, 1973 the Chilean military under General Pinochet brutally attacked the democratically elected Popular Unity Government, killing President Salvador Allende and established a military junta that suspended civilian rule and killed, imprisoned and tortured thousands of Chileans. It was from this baptism of fire that the Chilean Canadian community built and re-built itself.

On September 11, 2020 the TWHP will be holding a webinar about the churches and unions that campaigned to have Chilean refugees accepted into Canada and the history of the Chilean Canadian community in Toronto.

Friday September 11, 2020 7:00 pm
If you are interested in attending – please send an email to: torwhp@gmail.com

Toronto Workers History project www.twhp.ca

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Social History for Social Distancing

Nursing graduates of the Women’s College Hospital School of Nursing, including Agnes Clinton, the first Black graduate, proceed to Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto, 1951. Women’s College Hospital Archive / Toronto Star.

Like so much else, the Toronto Workers’ History Project is on hiatus as the world confronts the COVID-19 crisis.

As promoters of workers’ history and participants in workers’ movements, we are thinking a lot these days about the front-line workers tasked with fighting the pandemic head-on: nurses (like those pictured above), doctors, and other medical staff. We are also in solidarity with those essential workers whose jobs require them to continue being out in the world, at heightened risk of infection: workers at grocery stores, pharmacies, take-out restaurants and other still-open businesses, delivery persons and mail carriers, cleaners, farm workers, transit operators, drivers, airport workers, and others. It is does not escape notice that many of these essential workers are among the lowest paid and most marginalized in our society. Our thoughts and support also go out, of course, to the sick and their loved ones, in Toronto and around the world.

Those of us not in any of the above groups have likely been spending a lot more time at home recently, practicing “social distancing” to protect ourselves and our neighbours alike. 

Though the TWHP will not be meeting in person in the near future, we wanted to share with you some videos from past meetings — our modest contribution to helping people find enjoyable and enriching ways to pass the time during these unusual and trying days.

We call it, “Social History for Social Distancing.”

Enjoy!

A special thank-you to Glen Richards who filmed and edited all the below videos and who curates our YouTube channel.

Japanese Canadians: Internment and Disperal
with Joy Kogawa, Susan Aihoshi, Kim Koyama, and David Kidd
3 March 2020
Emma’s Last Visit
A production of the Toronto Workers’ Theatre Group
Written by Craig Heron, Directed by Aido Jordao
12 November 2019
Gabriel Allahdua on Migrant Farm Labour in Canada
10 October 2017
Craig Heron, “Labour on the March: 150 Years of Labour Day in Toronto”
12 September 2017

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Japanese Canadians: Internment and Dispersal | March 3, 7pm

Tuesday, March 3, 7:00 p.m.
Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil St.

During World War II, over 20,000 Japanese Canadians were interned by the Canadian state and displaced from their homes and communities in British Columbia. Their businesses and homes, including a fleet of fishing boats, were seized and never returned or properly compensated for. A traumatic and damaging experience for those affected, this forced relocation was also the genesis of the Japanese Canadian community in Toronto, as many internees eventually settled in the city, where they rebuilt their lives and communities.

Join us for a discussion of this important history, featuring some of the country’s top writers and thinkers and members of Japanese Canadians for Social Justice:

  • Joy Kogawa
  • Susan Aihoshi
  • Kim Koyama

ACCESSIBILITY INFO:

Steelworkers Hall is a wheelchair accessible space. Parking is available in the lot behind the hall on a first-come first-serve basis (enter through laneway east of hall). There is also paid parking available on the street. The closest transit stops are Spadina and Nassau (510 Spadina Streetcar) and College and Beverley/St. George (506 Carlton Streetcar).

For any other accessibility questions or concerns, please contact Ed Dunsworth at edunsworth@gmail.com.

Facebook event page here.

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Writing Sex Work History | Feb. 4, 7 p.m., 120 Diner

 “Sex worker in altercation with moral reformer,” ca. 1909. As reproduced in Canada’s Oldest Profession: Sex Work and Bawdy House LegislationU of T Libraries.

Tuesday, February 4, 7:00 p.m.
120 Diner, 120 Church St., Toronto

** Note change from our usual location **

Though criminalized and pushed to the margins, sex workers have played critical roles in Toronto’s history, contributing to its economic development and fighting for the rights of queer folk and other marginalized communities. While attitudes toward sex and sex work have changed dramatically in recent decades, prostitution laws continue to marginalize and punish sex workers, and put them at high risk of violence. Generations of sex work activists have pushed back against this state of affairs, organizing for recognition of sex work as a legitimate occupation and for safe working conditions within it.

Join us for a conversation about the past and present of sex work in Toronto, featuring Laurie Bertram, historian studying sex work in the 1800s at the University of Toronto, and Mandy Goodhandy, singer, comedian, sex work advocate and author of the recently released memoir, Just Call Me Lady.

The bar will be open (cash and cards accepted).

[Please note that the venue, 120 Diner, is wheelchair accessible, but does not have a wheelchair accessible bathroom. The closest accessible bathroom is located one block south at Versus Coffee.]

Facebook event page.

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Emma Goldman in Toronto

Tuesday, November 12, 7:00 p.m.
Steelworkers’ Hall, 25 Cecil St.

The year 2020 will mark the 80th anniversary of the death of anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman in Toronto in May 1940. Deported from the United States in 1919, Goldman spent part of her exile in Toronto during the 1920s and 1930s.

Join us for an evening of remembering and learning about Emma Goldman’s life and death in Toronto. 

Featuring:

Emma’s Last Visit 

A production of the Toronto Workers’ Theatre Group

Written by Craig Heron. Directed by Aida Jordao.

&

“80 Years Later… Emma Goldman Is Alive and Well and Working on Spadina Avenue”

A presentation by Franca Iacovetta (University of Toronto)
and Cynthia Wright (York University)

This talk is based on a book project that revisits Goldman’s exile and explores still understudied themes, such as how her experience as a political deportee, exile, and self-described “woman without a country” shaped her understanding of race, nation, internationalism, and exile politics. The talk will focus in particular on how Goldman was remembered, inter-generationally, and by whom in the city’s official, political, and popular memory.

Facebook event page here.

ACCESSIBILITY INFO:

Steelworkers Hall is a wheelchair accessible space. Parking is available in the lot behind the hall on a first-come first-serve basis (enter through laneway east of hall). There is also paid parking available on the street. The closest transit stops are Spadina and Nassau (510 Spadina Streetcar) and College and Beverley/St. George (506 Carlton Streetcar).

For any other accessibility questions or concerns, please contact Ed Dunsworth at edunsworth@gmail.com.

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Workers on Film: An Evening with CLiFF

Tuesday, October 8, 7:00 p.m.
Steelworkers’ Hall, 25 Cecil St.

Imagine a world where thousands of films are made about workers and the conditions under which they live, work, fight, and succeed in their daily lives! Instead, the world of labour has found it increasingly difficult to communicate its message as fewer and fewer people have greater control over the means of communication – the media.

It is more important than ever that working people be able to tell their own stories in their own words and in their own images.

With the wide availability of digital still and video cameras, camera-phones, and other tools, activists can now make their stories – but still find it difficult to exhibit their narratives. The Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF) is that venue.

Hear from three CLiFF Board members, watch some short films, and discuss how you can play a role in sharing our collective messages!

ACCESSIBILITY INFO:

Steelworkers Hall is a wheelchair accessible space. Parking is available in the lot behind the hall on a first-come first-serve basis (enter through laneway east of hall). There is also paid parking available on the street. The closest transit stops are Spadina and Nassau (510 Spadina Streetcar) and College and Beverley/St. George (506 Carlton Streetcar).

For any other accessibility questions or concerns, please contact Ed Dunsworth at edunsworth@gmail.com.

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/508628353200019/?active_tab=about

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Toronto Workers and World War II + Annual General Meeting

Tuesday, September 17, 7:00 p.m.
Steelworkers’ Hall, 25 Cecil St.

September 20 is the 80th anniversary Canada declaring war on Germany in 1939. The next six years of World War II shook up the lives of workers in Canada and around the world. Mikhail Bjorge, author of the forthcoming book The Workers’ War, will talk to us about how workers in Toronto waged their own war on the home front.

The meeting will begin with the TWHP Annual General Meeting.

ACCESSIBILITY INFO:

Steelworkers Hall is a wheelchair accessible space. Parking is available in the lot behind the hall on a first-come first-serve basis (enter through laneway east of hall). There is also paid parking available on the street. The closest transit stops are Spadina and Nassau (510 Spadina Streetcar) and College and Beverley/St. George (506 Carlton Streetcar).

For any other accessibility questions or concerns, please contact Ed Dunsworth at edunsworth@gmail.com.

Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/392754041434713/

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Whatever Happened to Gay Liberation?

A discussion with Tom Hooper and Tim McCaskell

Tuesday, June 11, 7:00 p.m.
Steelworkers’ Hall, 25 Cecil St.

It’s been fifty years since the Stonewall riot that launched a new phase of gay organizing and since the controversial amendments to the Canadian Criminal Code that allegedly “decriminalized” gay sex. In the decade after those events, new political organizing within Toronto’s LGBTQ community fought for a radical vision of “Gay Liberation.” Organizations, newspapers, demonstrations, and celebrations blossomed. But the impact of that political challenge soon faded. What happened? Our two speakers will address this history.

Tom Hooper wrote a PhD dissertation on the organizing against the bathhouse raids of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and has been a leading voice of the Anti-69 movement that has recently challenged the celebrations of the 1969 criminal reforms.

Tim McCaskell has been a prominent activist in the LGTBQ community for decades and is the author of Queer Progress: From Homophobia to Homonationalism.

Facebook event page here.

ACCESSIBILITY INFO:

Steelworkers Hall is a wheelchair accessible space. Parking is available in the lot behind the hall on a first-come first-serve basis (enter through laneway east of hall). There is also paid parking available on the street. The closest transit stops are Spadina and Nassau (510 Spadina Streetcar) and College and Beverley/St. George (506 Carlton Streetcar).

For any other accessibility questions or concerns, please contact Craig Heron at cheron@yorku.ca.

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Toronto 1919 Video!

Video from the latest production of the Toronto Workers’ Theatre Group, Toronto 1919. Recorded at the General Strike: Cabaret 1919, at the Tranzac Club, 14 May 2019.

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