Toronto the Bad: A Riots Map and Timeline

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.

Map screenshot

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.

“Summer of ’77”: thank you note.


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We had lots of news coverage, including Laura Fraser’s story on – 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 at a later date.

Follow or contact the presenters Gilberto FernandesDaniel RossTom Hooper, and Valerie Scott for more information on their research and advocacy.

Launch of Constança Saraiva’s book “A Little Country Across the Country”

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.

Community Conversation: The Summer of ’77: How Emanuel Jaques’ Murder Changed Toronto

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!


Digital map of Portuguese communities in Canada

For the 64th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of Portuguese “bulk order” migrant workers on Pier 21, in Halifax, I have created a digital map with the current location of and statistics about the largest Portuguese immigrant, ethnic, and speaking communities in Canada. You can find it here.

map communities

RTPi’s “Hora dos Portugueses” to continue for a third season

The daily show “Hora dos Portugueses” on Portugal’s international TV and radio broadcaster RTPi/ RTP1/ RDP, will continue for a third season, from January to December 2017. Together with Pedro Rodrigues, Luis Moreira, Daniela Costa (Toronto), and Marta Raposo (Montreal), I will continue my work as a co-producer, content editor, researcher, and reporter dedicated to showcasing Portuguese immigrants and descendants who are doing interesting work in various areas of Canadian society. So far, this season, we have produced segments on a grocer, a bakery chain, a couple of volunteer aid-providers for the homeless, a biochemist, a tattoo artist, a musician, a boxing coach, and a restaurateur, with many more to come.

For a complete list of the episodes that we have produced since November 2015, see the PCHP’s blog under the category “Hora dos Portugueses”.


“Oh Famous Race!” New article in The Public Historian

Juan_Rodriguez_Cabrillo_at_Cabrillo_National_MonumentMy latest article came out in the University of California Press’ and National Council on Public History’s journal The Public Historian, 18: 1 (February 2016): 18-47.

It examines the transnational and international politics and motivations behind the Eurocentric campaigns of Portuguese American heritage advocates to memorialize the sixteenth-century navigators Miguel Corte-Real and Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo as the ‘‘discoverers’’ of the United States’ Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and how those campaigns were framed by the advocates’ ‘‘ancestral’’ homeland’s imperialist propaganda. It argues that the study of public memory and heritage politics can offer valuable insights into the processes of diaspora building and helps reveal the asymmetrical power relations often missing in discussions about cultural hybridity.

The article also explores the intersection of local, national, and transnational politics in ethnic heritage campaigns; their racial and gendered dimensions; how they conflated the contradictory yet mutually empowering interests of Portuguese immigrants, North American politicians, and Estado Novo officials; how they advanced Portugal’s imperialist foreign policy agenda; and how they further marginalized the colonized indigenous peoples of North America.

The article can be downloaded here.