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Poor People's History of East Downtown Toronto

Toronto — 14 September 2013.


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For close to two centuries East Downtown Toronto has welcomed the unemployed, homeless and working poor. Infrastructures to support the unemployed, some of which date back to the establishment of Toronto first poor house to the 1830s, are now being threatened and dismantled by the city to make room for Toronto's more affluent residents. Where will the unemployed, homeless, and poor residents go?

The tour explores how Toronto's "skid row" came to be established in East Downtown Toronto. What has been the relationship of Toronto poor with Toronto wealthy residents over the last one-seventy-years? What happened to the slums of Cabbagetown and how are they related to Regent Park, Canada's largest social housing complex? There is also long history organizing and militant resistance in East Downtown Toronto by the unemployed and the homeless dating back to the 1890s. How are these struggles connected to later unemployed battles of the 1930s and 1990s?

This walking tour is led by Gaetan Heroux, who is a member of OCAP, a long time organizer in the neighborhood, and a people's historian.

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