Last September, I started a new research and public history project called City Builders: An Oral History of Immigrant Construction Workers in Postwar Toronto, associated with York University’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and the Laborers International Union of North America Local 183. This project will record, examine, and divulge the history of Toronto’s immigrant construction workers after the Second World War. It will do so by gathering extensive qualitative information through filmed oral history interviews, by photographing the participants’ personal records and artifacts, and by conducting extensive research in Toronto’s archives. I will be leading a team of researchers (including York students) and filmmakers, who will interview forty retired members of Local 183, focusing on their goals, struggles, achievements, and thoughts on immigration, construction work, labour organization, Toronto, and other topics of significance. With these materials, we will produce forty short videos and one 15-minute documentary that will be featured in a multimedia exhibition. The exhibit’s launch and the screening of the documentary will coincide with the 2018 Avie Bennett Conference at York University, taking place on September 2018. All of the materials gathered and produced by this project will be donated to the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, York University Libraries, once the project is completed.
There has been over eighty riots throughout the history of Toronto, some of them quite large. This seemingly high number contradicts the idea of a peaceful and even dull “Toronto the Good,” and of Canada as a land of peace, order, and good governance, where differences have been negotiated through compromise, unlike our southern neighbours. Race, religion, political views, labour relations, social inequality, youth rebelliousness, have been the most common factors triggering these relatively short outburst of violence. In all of them, Toronto’s police forces have played a central role, as law and order enforcers, as violence instigators, or as passive bystanders. Toronto’s riot history is an important thread for weaving the story of its police forces, political rulers, inter-ethnic/racial relations, religious communities, and other significant historical agents.
In 2016-17, HIST4530 students wrote about various riots in Toronto’s past, drawing from primary (i.e. newspapers and maps) and secondary source materials. The assignment asked for them to write for a public history audience, which required them to write clearly and succinctly, and summarize complex ideas into simplified yet nuanced short texts. I have since edited and built on the students’ work, and created a digital map and timeline using Omeka/ Neatline, called Toronto the Bad: A Riots Map and Timeline.
This assignment will be repeated in 2017-18. The incoming HIST4530 students’ work will feed into this digital resource, which remains a work in progress. This work is also featured in Myseum of Toronto‘s mobile application.
I am also currently working on an article about Toronto’s riot history.
I had the privilege of co-organizing the York University’s Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Program’s 1st Youth Summer Program, which took place throughout the week of July 10-14. This free week-long program for high students in the ages of 10-14 years old, provided students with a range of educational activities that mixed learning with recreation, as well as breakfast, lunch, snacks, and public transit fare. Besides introducing students to the Lusophone world, both global and local communities, it also allow them to experience university life. The program included a rich roster of presenters, who offered lectures, personal advice, and hands-on workshops on language, history, music, dance, theatre, painting, filming, archival research, digital media, and other fields. See here for an illustrated overview of the program.
Looking forward to doing it all over again next year.
O artigo da jornalista Helena Tecedeiro, sobre Justin Trudeau e a celebração dos 150 anos do Canadá, para o qual fui entrevistado, foi publicado na edição de 1 de julho do Diário de Notícias. Pode lê-lo aqui.
We had lots of news coverage, including Laura Fraser’s story on CBC.ca – today’s editors pick – and CBC Radio, with contributions from some of our panelists.
In case you missed our roundtable discussion last night, you can watch the live recording on the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers’ Facebook page (apologies for the technical difficulties). The audio recording of the presentations will be made available on ActiveHistory.ca at a later date.
Constança Saraiva’s book “A Little Country Across the Ocean,” for which I have contributed a brief introduction about the history of Portuguese-Americans, is being launched on June 4th in New York and June 5th in Lisbon. See link below for more.
I have organized a York University Community Conversation on the murder of Emanuel Jaques in the summer of 1977, and the major impact it had in Toronto, particularly with Portuguese, LGBTQ, and sex worker communities. I will be one of the presenters in this public panel, alongside historians Daniel Ross and Tom Hooper, and sex worker and advocate Valerie Scott, and moderated by Maria João Dodman.
This event will take place on June 22, from 6pm to 8pm, at the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers (960 St. Clair Ave. West).
All are welcome!