Archive for the ‘History’ Category

St. Lawrence Market – 205th Anniversary

One of my favourite venues in the city celebrates a special anniversary this week. The St. Lawrence Market turns 205 this week. Stop by this piece of the city’s history on Friday and Saturday to catch up on the festivities. On Friday Bruce Bell will be leading a tour through Old Town Toronto bringing familiar Toronto landmarks to life. The fun continues Saturday with music, buskers and more. Rediscover the core.

Of course one can’t forget the the food! There will be specials and anniversary features to sample so don’t miss it. All the more reason to check out the St Lawrence Market.

St. Lawrence Market 205th Anniversary
Friday, November 6, 6 p.m., and Saturday November 7, 2009, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Walk The Walk

Jane’s Walk kicks off May 2nd and 3rd, rain or shine. Jane’s Walk is simply a series of free neighbourhood walking tours. A great way for people to connect (or reconnect) with their environment and with each other. Since its inception back in 2007 Jane’s Walk has been all over Canada and selected partner cities in the United States. The event is a wonderful way to celebrate Jane Jacobs and great way to spend an afternoon. Check the schedule for a walk near you, or better yet learn about another neighbourhood in our great city.

Jane’s Walk
May 2nd and May 3rd
(Various Locations)

United In The Fight

It’s official. The opposition has united to defeat the government and the policies presented by the Minister of Finance. Uncharted territory here. Amazing to see how fast differing viewpoints could draft an agreement and proposal to stimulate the economy over the weekend. Mr. Flaherty has called it “a deal with the devil”?

Canada is stronger together, perhaps a coalition government might actually work together toward rebuilding Canada during these trying times. I think that we are in for more concrete action than the Conservatives are willing to admit since ALL opposition parties have committed to unite until June 30, 2011! (The Bloc are supportive of this coalition for 18 months and can extend support after that time since they are not formally part of the coalition). The economy and the environment are front and centre. The coalition will pursue prudent policies to stimulate the economy through investments in infrastructure, boosts to struggling economic sectors as well as home construction and retrofit (low income housing? green tax breaks?). Most important, long term deficits are not in the interest of the coalition.

“Today we respectfully inform the Governor General that, as soon as the appropriate opportunity arises, she should call on the Leader of the Official Opposition to form a new government, supported as set out in the accompanying accords by all three of our parties.


Hon. Stéphane Dion
Leader, the Liberal Party of Canada

Hon. Jack Layton
Leader, the New Democratic Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe
Leader, the Bloc Québécois”

– from the agreement signed by Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, on Monday Dec. 1, 2008

It will be interesting to see how the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada reacts.

Last Night of the Vigil

There were special Remembrance Day events Queen’s Park and at Old City Hall today. The TTC gave pause to honour our veterans this morning too. If you have not already seen it, tonight until dawn the last 10,000 names of the 68,000 lost will be shown as part of the 1914 – 1918 Vigil. Coincidental or not Mayor Miller noted earlier today, about 10,000 of the 68,000 who perished in that war made Toronto their home. Lest we forget…

The Urban Water Cycle… Best Yet!!!

The Urban Water Cycle Pools Together Near Trinity Bellwoods

The Urban Water Cycle Pools Together Near Trinity Bellwoods

Glad I had a chance to check out this year’s Human River – Urban Water Cycle on Sunday. It was a brilliant idea to try the event as a bicycle adventure through the streets of Toronto. Of course it helped that the ride was downhill (basically the path of Garrison Creek toward the lake).

A big bonus were the speakers and stops along the route which brought new insight into Toronto, past and present. L.E.A.F. , Toronto Public Spacing Committee, Human River, Lost Rivers, The Toronto Green Community, River Sides, Coach House Books and the many volunteers should be proud of their efforts. A job well done on improving on what was already such a great event! Four years strong, here’s to four more!

Urban Water Cycle

It’s back again for another year! The Human River. This year’s event, The Human River Urban Water Cycle, is a leisurely bike ride. The downhill ride will have riders follow the route of the now buried Garrison Creek, Toronto’s biggest buried river, toward Lake Ontario. Urban Water Cycle promises to be a great family friendly event that will enlighten and entertain while providing a different take on Toronto neighbourhoods and the environment. The ride starts at St. Clair and Humewood and ends at Old Fort York’s Blue Barracks. There will be food, raffles and a photo show at the Blue Barracks at 3:30pm.

So if you are not too much of a ZOMBIE Sunday morning dress up in blue and join the Human River!

Human River – Urban Water Cycle
October 19th starting at 1pm
Free (Donations are Welcome)

7Km ride Starts at 1pm – North West Corner of St.Clair and Humewood
(Waiver Required)
Stops include Bickford Park (approx. 1:45 – 2pm), Trinity Bellwoods (approx. 2:20 – 2:40pm) and Old Fort York (approx. 3:10 – 3:30pm)
Food and Photo Show at 3:30pm after the bike ride at Fort York’s Blue Barracks

Non-cyclists are encouraged to join in the fun at Fork York or at other Water Cycle stops (Bickford Park or Trinity Bellwoods).

Have You Heard the Word… [murmur]

[murmur].  Here you are (Hear you are).  5 years and growing stronger.  If you don’t already know [murmur] is an oral history project that records and retells the stories of specific locations.  [murmur] was first established in Toronto’s Kensington Market in 2003.

You may have seen the trademark signs, a frosty green ear with a phone number and reference number, all around the city. The signs are markers for story locations.  You can call and listen to a personal story about that physical spot or neighbourhood.  In the age of cell phones this can be an interesting experience.  Someone recounts their story of your particular landscape to your mind’s eye while you stand “on location”.  Of course you can “cheat” and hear many [murmur] stories are on the [murmur] website but the real fun is discovering these stories where they happened.

Today there are close 600 stories, 250 signs up in 8 cities in 5 countries around the world. The project is organic of course and still growing.  The community are encouraged to participate and contribute.  If you would like to share a story you simply need to contact [murmur].

[murmur] is 5!  Definitely something to celebrate.

Murmur 5th Anniversary Party
Thursday July 17th
The Canadian Corps Hall
201 Niagara
(just south of King St. West)
FREE (no cover)

Arrow Anniversary This Week – Has Much Changed?

arrow_dview1.jpgThe Toronto Star had an interesting article regarding one of Canada’s engineering achievements, the AVRO ARROW.  A product of the Cold War it was designed to be Canada’s answer to protecting America from Northern threats as a supersonic all weather interceptor/bomber.   Ahead of its time (the Arrow could fly at twice the speed of sound – faster than our current fleet of CF-18s) the plane was even a potential export to our Allies (though the US or the UK weren’t interested in purchasing foriegn produced aircraft).  In any case it was a world class plane.

It was all for nothing in the end.  John Diefenbaker, the Conservative PM from the west, decided that despite AVRO being the the third largest corporation in Canada, employing some 41,000 people, that the Arrow project should be cancelled.  Many conspiracy theories exist as to why Canada’s National Defence and soveriegnty were trumped in this case.  (RL Whitcomb has an opinion as do many others)  Was it PM Diefenbaker’s way of improving American relations after to committing to NORAD?  Was the project costing Canadian taxpayers too much for what was delivered?  We may never know.

It will be interesting to see if MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd, MDA,  is sold off in the coming days or weeks.  So far opponents have delayed the sale. Considering that the US and now Russia are limiting foreign ownership of key industries why can’t we do the same?  Have concerns about sovereignty and protecting the North really changed?  If the Conservatives allow the maker of the Canadarm and the recently launched Radarsat-2 satellite to be sold off they may be following the footsteps of Diefenbaker’s Conservatives.  After all renting (or have a contract to use) our locally developed technology is not the same as owning it.

The CHL is Black History


Halifax Eurekas 1906 of the CHL – Coloured Hockey League

In keepinmg intouch with my Canadian Black History research I can across some information about the the game of Hockey and it’s early years. Pretty interesting stuff. I also came across George and Darril Fosty’s book Black Ice which I am currently in the hunt for so I can read it in full.

Here is a post from the Black Athlete Sports Wire:


February is Black History Month.It is also “Hockey is for Everyone Month.” Since 2003, the National Hockey League has set aside the month of February to honor the contributions of blacks to the sport of hockey. To those of you who don’t follow the sport because it’s perceived as only a sport that “white people with no teeth play” are saying to yourselves, “what contributions?”

You may know of current players such as Anson Carter and Jerome Iginla. You may even know of such black hockey pioneers like Willie O’Ree and Grant Fuhr. But that’s as far as it goes. But there is a lot more that blacks have given to the sport of hockey that even an avid hockey fan like myself didn’t even know about.


Hubbard is Black History


To kick start Black History month her on MB Toronto I thought I would post some info on Toronto’s most popular black politician William Hubbard.

William Peyton Hubbard, (1842 – 1935), was first person of African descent, on Toronto’s City Council. He was first elected in 1894 and served on it for 15 years. Hubbard was born in Toronto to former American slaves, who had escaped via the Underground Railroad. A baker by trade, he was well-known for his strong political opinions, his sharp wit, his convincing oratory and for his strong sense of public duty. His eloquence was such that his fellow politicians dubbed him “Old Cicero.”

George Brown supported him after he had rescued Brown from drowning in the Don River. The horses pulling Brown’s carriage bolted and he was tossed into the river. Brown recognize Hubbard’s political astuteness and encouraged his political ambitions. Not only was he Toronto’s first African Canadian Councillor, he was also Toronto’s first Canadian deputy mayor of African lineage.

He made a name for himself as a champion of little man, protecting the rights of Chinese laundry owners in the city. He also was a supporter of Adam Beck, founder of Toronto Hydro, in his efforts to keep power public.

Losing an election in 1915, Hubbard retired to the Riverdale area of the city, building a home 660 Broadview Ave., now part of Montcrest School, .that he would spend his remaining days in until he died at the age of 93. There is a plaque commemorating this house in the northeast corner of Riverdale Park, just south of Montcrest.

He maintained he had never experienced racism in political office because he ran on his knowledge of real estate, rather than as a “Negro politician,” and said, “I have always felt that I am a representative of a race hitherto despised, but if given a fair opportunity would be able to command esteem.”

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