Category Archives: events

“Relief and Resistance: A Poor People’s History of East Downtown Toronto”

Gaetan Heroux, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Thursday April 9th, 2009
4.00-6.00pm (Room 2125, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street)

East Downtown Toronto is the city’s oldest working class neighborhood. It was 
once the home to some of Toronto’s wealthiest residents. Today, Toronto’s 
“skid row” is located in the heart of East Downtown Toronto, and the area has 
one of largest concentration of social housing in Canada. The current gentrification 
of the area threatens the very existence of this working class neighborhood and 
has become a staging ground for some of Canada’s most militant anti‐poverty 
demonstrations in since the mid 1990’s.

How did this transition happen? What was the relationship of Toronto’s wealthy 
philanthropists and church organizations to the “vagrants” and “tramps” who were 
flooding the city and East Downtown Toronto at the turn of the 19th century and 
onward? What role did Toronto’s poor houses play in the lives of poor people in 
the area? What was the city’s response to slums which emerged in the area shortly 
have the industrialization of Toronto? How did a local church, which at one time 
was the church of some of Toronto’s most affluent residents, come to open its 
doors to some of Toronto’s poorest residence? How did the local park go from the 
being the playground of the rich to the rallying grounds of the poor? Why are poor 
people being displaced from Toronto’s oldest working class neighborhood? These 
are the questions that the presentation will attempt to answer.

About Gaetan Heroux:
Mr. Heroux is an anti‐poverty activist with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty 
(OCAP) and an Identification Outreach Worker with the Street Health Community 
Nursing Foundation. For the last twenty years he has worked with homeless and 
low‐income people in East Downtown Toronto, has served on a number of steering 
committees related to poverty, homelessness and violence and has been a featured 
speaker at public events, panel discussions, rallies and workshops on poverty in 
cities across Ontario and Quebec. Mr. Heroux is currently working on a book on 
the history of East Downtown Toronto.

For more information, contact Ayesha Alli, • 416 946-0269


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WELCOME TO THE 24th ANNUAL MAYWORKS FESTIVAL OF WORKING PEOPLE AND THE ARTS! April 25th – May 3rd, Come check out Shameless (that’s me!), on April 25th, opening night, with LAL, Vox Sambou, La Loba, MataDanZe and Climbing PoeTree! (details below) ********************************************************* IN THE RED: REVOLUTION FOR OUR HEARTS Saturday April 25, 8 pm, $10-$15 s/s The Blue Moon Pub, 725 Queen Street East This year’s opening night features a medley of artists and performers who are guaranteed to pick up your spirits in this economic downturn. As independent artists these performers are intimately familiar with making the most out of lean times. Bring your friends, your loved ones, even your ex-boss and enjoy an evening of performances that will make you feel like you’re in the black again! Featuring: LAL, a collective of musicians that include vocalist Rosina Kazi, laptop musician Nicholas “Murr” Murray and bassist Ian de Souza. The group fuses South Asian roots, West Indian fruits, and melancholic vocals with jazz sensibilities, hip-hop influences, down tempo grooves, broken soul and electro. Prepare to be intoxicated! Born in the town of Limbé in Northern Haiti, hip-hop artist VOX SAMBOU has been writing and performing since age 14. A founding member of the international crew Nomadic Massive, he desires to bring light the injustices taking place worldwide and particularly in Haiti. Critical, powerful, fulfilling: just some of the words audience members have used to describe CLIMBING POETREE’s performances. With roots in Haiti and Colombia, Alixa and Naima reside in Brooklyn, and their flawless cadence and impeccable lyricism tell powerful stories. Poet and spoken word performer LA LOBA is an educator/agitator/artist whose work aims to challenge and provoke community discussion on gender, the environment and the ‘visible minority’ experience. SHAMELESS brings hip hop like you’ve rarely seen it, busting up the system’s binaries, bigging up the marginal and the magical. Dynamic lyrics blend with hot, sexy vocals to create this artist’s unique flavour, a vibe that is all about tearing down what tears us apart. MataDanZe is an independent Toronto based interpretative dance group that will perform La Raza Cozmica (The Cosmic Race), an anti-racism choreography with live music that interprets the European conquest of Latin America. Not to be missed! Shameless

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Crossing Arizona

No One Is Illegal-Toronto invites you to a film screening of “Crossing
Arizona”! Join us for the Toronto premiere of this award-winning film.

Thursday, November 22 – 9pm
at The Brunswick Theatre
296 Brunswick Ave (west of Spadina, just south of Bloor St, Toronto)
Tickets: $10 waged, $5 unwaged/students/seniors

About the film:
Heightened security in California and Texas has pushed ‘illegal’ border-crossers
into the treacherous Arizona desert in unprecedented numbers – an estimated
4,500 a day. Most are men in search of work, but increasingly the
border-crossers are women and children seeking to reunite with their families.
This influx of migrants crossing through Arizona and the attendant rising death
toll have elicited complicated feelings about human rights, culture, class,
labour and national security.

“Crossing Arizona” examines the crisis through the eyes of those
directly affected by it. Frustrated ranchers go out day after day to
repair cut fences and pick up the trash that endangers their livestock and
livelihoods. Humanitarian groups place water stations in the
desert in an attempt to save lives. Political activists rally against
anti-migrant ballot initiatives and try to counter rampant fear
mongering. Farmers who depend on the illegal work force face each day with
the fear that they may lose their workers to a border patrol
sweep. And now there are the Minutemen, an armed citizen patrol group
taking border security into their own hands. As up-to-date as the
nightly news, but far more in-depth, “Crossing Arizona” reveals the
surprising political stances people take when immigration and border
policy fails everyone.

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Roundtable on precarity @ Artivistic 2007

Artivistic is an international transdisciplinary three-day gathering on the interPlay between art, information and activism. Artivistic emerges out of the proposition that not only artists talk about art, academics about theory, and activists about activism. Founded in 2004, the event aims to promote transdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue on activist art beyond critique, to create and facilitate a human network of diverse peoples, and to inspire, proliferate, activate.For the third edition of Artivistic, the expression [ un.occupied spaces ] was chosen to stimulate new ideas in response to the hidden confusions caused by the infinite networks of 21C globalization and neo-liberalism. [ un.occupied spaces ] dares to link the charged issues of environmentalism, indigenous and migrant struggles, and urban practices together through the angle of occupation. In an interconnected world, critical thought and action cannot but become flexible and uncompromising at once. To think with occupation consequently becomes a strategy for approaching these issues in a way that will reveal their interdependence, and fuel creative and tactical collaborative actions between “co-artists” (artists and non-artists). Built around three interrelated questions, the event consists of roundtables, workshops, interventions, exhibitions, performances, and screenings at our temporary headquarters at 5455 av. de Gaspé, #701 and in different venues and spaces of Montreal.
see the program here

16h00-18h00: Table-ronde / Roundtable discussion: Occuper quoi? What is (there) to occupy? (Précarité / Precarity)

(modérateurs / chairs: Sophie Le-Phat Ho, Catherine Melançon)

Roberta Buiani & Alessandra Renzi (Toronto): Precarious spaces / Spaces of precarity

Judith Cayer (Montrea): Centre social autogéré de Pointe-St-Charles

Marie-Hélène Cousineau (Montreal): Arnait Video Productions (Igloolik)

Keg de Souza & Lucas Ihlein (Australia): Squatfest

Aaron Lakoff (Montreal): Understanding precarity in Montreal

Bob thebuilder (Montreal): Collectif au travail/at work

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COMMEMORATING AL-NAKBA: Palestinian Refugees Will Return

What: Commemoration and celebration of resistance and
return. Community dinner, speakers and performances.
When: Thursday May 17 at 7:30 pm
Where: Steel Workers Hall – 25 Cecil Street

Join us on Thursday May 17 to commemorate the 59th
anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba – the Catastrophe
of 1948. In 1948 Zionist militias destroyed more than
450 Palestinian villages and expelled around 750,000
Palestinians from their homes, beginning a process of
ethnic cleansing that continues to this day.
Palestinian refugees remain steadfast and continue to
fight for their right to return.

Come out – learn about Al-Nakba, enjoy delicious food
and exciting performances.

Children welcome – games will be a feature of the

Suggested Donation: $5 – $10 (sliding scale)

For more information visit: or email

Organized by the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
(CAIA) and co-sponsored by Palestine House.

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500 Miles To Babylon: A Film About Iraq Under U.S. Occupation

May 22nd and May 25th, 7 pm
Brunswick Theatre
296 Brunswick Avenue, 2nd floor
$10 Admission

David Martinez, the San Francisco-based director, will be onhand for discussion
and Q+A following the film

500 Miles to Babylon is a one-hour documentary shot in multiple cities in Iraq
in 2003-4. Narrated by the filmmaker, it addresses the current war not simply
as a conflict over petroleum profits or a scheme to fill a company’s coffers,
but as part of a larger American imperial project. Through impromptu
interviews, glimpses of daily life, still photographs, and footage of
car-bombs, demonstrations, night-time graffiti artists, Sufi rituals, and the
celebrations following Saddam’s capture, 500 Miles To Babylon reveals the
complex situation in contemporary Iraq through a personal lens.

It is a film not about soldiers, not about governments, but about Iraqi
civilians and a handful of independent journalists in a country being turned
into hell. A cinema verite narrative of daily life, disintegration, and the
humor that ordinary people adapt when living in a warzone.

The story ends with rare footage from inside besieged Fallujah, where the
filmmaker went in April 2004 with a group of volunteers to deliver medical aid
to the town’s inhabitants and subsequently reported to the world about the
conditions of civilians during the fighting.

With a soundtrack of Iraqi Choubi songs compiled by Sublime Frequencies, 500
Miles… is unlike any Iraq movie you have seen!

Directed by David Martinez
58 minutes, Video, Color 2006


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From Haiti: Women’s Rights and Trade Union Organizers Speak Out

Date of Event/Update: May-25-2007
The Toronto Haiti Action Committee will host a public event during an exclusive cross-Canada tour featuring Euvonie Georges-Auguste and Ginette Apollon, leading Haitian trade union and women’s rights activists, who will discuss the struggles of the labour and women’s movement in Haiti today, particularly in the aftermath of 2004 Canadian-backed coup against Haiti’s democratically elected government. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear from these dynamic speakers and leading Haitian organizers!

Friday, May 25
7 pm at SteelWorkers Hall
25 Cecil Street
To be followed by Social Event a short distance away (location TBA)

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