Tag Archives: Toronto

History and Historical Preservation

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Richard White Some ten or fifteen years ago a group of residents in my Toronto neighbourhood, a pre-WWI ‘streetcar suburb’ known locally as the Beaches, began the process of making parts of it a Heritage Conservation District (HCD), a designation that would impose controls on physical changes to buildings. My immediate response was to oppose them. I was not entirely… Read more »

Planned and Unplanned Urban Migrations

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Richard White As anyone who lives in or frequents Toronto’s inner-city can attest, the place is over-run with human activity. The word “congestion” is probably over-used in urban affairs, and it still feels tainted by its long association with slum clearances, but it is the word that comes to mind when travelling about the city’s lower downtown these days. Walking… Read more »

Listening to History: Correcting the Toronto Metis Land Acknowledgement

By Jesse Thistle One of my friends is a teacher for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). She recently asked me for help regarding their traditional land acknowledgement recognizing the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Wendat, and the Metis. She told me that the board was facing considerable resistance from the community regarding the acknowledgment of the Metis. The blow back is understandable, and here’s… Read more »

Beyond the Bulldozer: Rejected Postwar Development in Toronto

(adapted from an earlier post on torontoplanninghistorian.com) Richard White Among the most persistent myths – in the sense of widely-held but erroneous beliefs – about Toronto’s planning history, perhaps even about planning history generally, is that the modernist planners of the postwar generation wanted to “bulldoze” anything old and replace it with some lifeless, modern, tower-in-the-park sort of structure. Indeed,… Read more »

How Did the Urban Reformers Change Toronto?

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By Daniel Ross For more than four decades, John Sewell has been a constant presence in Toronto civic life, where he has somehow managed to combine relentless criticism of the status quo with a long record of public service. He first drew attention as a community organizer in the late 1960s, before going on to have a career in city… Read more »

Disappearing into White Space: Indigenous Toronto, 1900-1914

ActiveHistory.ca is pleased to announce the publication of Jasmine Chorley’s new paper: “Disappearing into White Space: Indigenous Toronto, 1900-1914″   There is an empty space in the written history of Canada. In monographs, textbooks, and articles alike, narratives of Indigenous peoples fade out following the Indian Act (1876) and the Numbered Treaties (1871-1921). Coll Thrush expressed this as a phenomenon… Read more »

Coming Clean About Operation Soap: The 1981 Toronto Bathhouse Raids

By Forrest Picher Implicitly, gay men are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and supposedly enjoy the same rights as heterosexual people.1 Yet, there remains a legal discrimination against homosexual sex: homosexuals cannot engage in group sex, while heterosexuals can. Writing in 2014, Thomas Hooper explains “section 159 of the Criminal Code codifies mononormativity and maintains the… Read more »

Who built Toronto’s St Lawrence Neighbourhood?

(adapted from an earlier post on torontoplanninghistorian.com) By Richard White Earlier this month, it was Jane’s Walk time again in Toronto, and thousands were out this past touring various urban locales under the guidance of local experts. It is a remarkable success story, this concept, and a fitting legacy for someone who conceived one of the most influential books of the twentieth century… Read more »

Toronto vs. Montréal: A Short History

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By Daniel Ross Last month, the mayors of Canada’s two largest cities met in Toronto, and the mood was positive. After discussing business partnerships, security, the upcoming federal election and—inevitably—hockey, Denis Coderre and John Tory announced a new era for relations between Montréal and Toronto. “The two solitudes are over,” stated the charismatic Coderre, who last made the news in… Read more »

Debriefing Toronto’s Municipal Election

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By James Cullingham (@JamesCullingham) Darkness has lifted over Toronto. While that might be temporary, it does not make that arrangement any less welcome. With the election of Mayor elect John Tory Toronto is no longer led by a man who is frequently described as addicted, angry, and insulting. To the best of our knowledge, John Tory carries no such labels. So…we have… Read more »