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Diaspora Series: Multiculturalism and Cultural Identities in the 21st Century

“City Builders: A History of Immigrant Construction Workers in Postwar Toronto”

Exhibition Display: March 19 – March 31
Public Launch on Sunday, March 24 at 3pm

RSVP Now  Download PDF

“City Builders: A History of Immigrant Construction Workers in Postwar Toronto.” Photo by Dick Loek. June 1, 1968.

A multimedia exhibition, website, video series, and a two-part documentary of the Italian, Irish, Portuguese and other immigrant construction workers who built Toronto, this display is dedicated to the history of these men and their labour struggles in 1950s – 70s Toronto. Filled with fascinating, personal stories of bravery, selfishness and greed, friendship and enmity, triumph and tragedy, all marked by the pursuit of their individual and collective dreams.

This exhibition will take part in this year’s “Myseum Intersections 2019” in March and is part of the larger City Builders project, which was distinguished with the 2019 Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation.

Price: Free Admission

For more information, please contact cultural@villacharities.com or call 416-789-7011 ext. 248.

Read the official City Builders’ Ontario Heritage Award & Myseum Exhibition Press Release

The public history project “City Builders: a History of Immigrant Construction Workers in Postwar Toronto” aims to examine, preserve, and divulge the history of the Irish, Italian, Portuguese, and other immigrant construction workers who built Toronto in the 1950s-70s. Its themes include: the exploitative conditions facing these immigrant workers; the lack of safety and high number of fatal accidents; their labour organization and union battles; the presence of organized crime; among others. Led by Dr. Gilberto Fernandes, the City Builders project is associated with the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University, and sponsored by LIUNA Local 183 and the Mariano A. Elia Chair in Italian-Canadian Studies. Its outputs include a website packed with interactive digital content (i.e. photos, maps, timelines, bios), an oral history video series, a two-part documentary, and a multimedia travelling exhibition. We are currently producing two more documentary episodes and additional oral history videos. Click here to read more.

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario’s Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation

The City Builders project was one of the recipients of this year’s Lieutenant Governor of Ontario’s Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation. The awards ceremony, presided by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, was held at the Provincial Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, on February 22. Read the Ontario Heritage Trust press release about this event here.

Myseum of Toronto’s Intersections Festival

The City Builders’ multimedia exhibition will be part of this year’s Myseum of Toronto Intersections Festival. The exhibit will be on display at the Columbus Centre from March 19 until March 31. A public launch reception will be held on Sunday, March 24 at 3 pm. This is a free event that is open to all. Click here to visit the official Myseum of Toronto website.

The City Builders’ multimedia exhibit consists of seven displays, various artifacts, and a series of oral history videos. This multimedia exhibit uses augmented reality technology by way of 80 QR-codes that can be scanned with a smartphone/tablet to activate various digital features, including audio captions, videos, photos, interactive maps, and texts. QR-code reader mobile app is required. Use of ear/headphones is recommended. Free wifi will be provided.