The Ward: Our Living History


The Ward: Our Living History

Saturday, May 20, 2017


Toronto City Hall

Members’ Lounge

The Ward: Our Living History builds on the work and the relationships formed during the creation of the Picturing the Ward exhibition that was commissioned by Infrastructure Ontario (IO) in 2016 on behalf of the Province of Ontario.  As with the exhibition, this event brings together former Ward residents and their descendants to share, exchange and discuss what it was like to live in St. John’s Ward, which was once one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in downtown Toronto. Through storytelling and family photographs uncover aspects of Ward life – experiences that, although rooted in the past, still resonate today. The legacy of this neighbourhood lies not in the buildings that once stood, but lives on in the lives of those who remain to tell their stories.

The Ward

Bound by College Street to the north, Queen Street to the south, University Avenue to the west and Yonge Street to the east, the Ward was where many newcomers to Toronto from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century first settled. It was a densely populated neighbourhood and at various points home to African-Canadians, refugees from the Irish Potato Famine, African-Americans who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad, Russian and Eastern European Jews, Italian and Chinese immigrants, and many more. Prior to this, the area was a site of human activity for at least 15,000 years, with the land most recently being the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit River (Ontario First Nations Maps, 2016). 

Amid protest, residents of the Ward were eventually pushed out of the neighbourhood. Businesses, churches, synagogues, theatres, and shops closed as residents were moved out of the area. Buildings were demolished to make way for hospitals, government buildings, department stores, a bus terminal, new City Hall and Nathan Phillip Square.

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Bike Month/Bike to Work Day


Bike Month kicks off with Bike to Work Day on Monday, May 29 and runs until June 30 with a variety of rides, races, tours and festivals across the city!

The City of Toronto, through its Live Green Toronto and Smart Commute programs, partners with Cycle Toronto to support the campaign and raise awareness of the benefits of cycling. 

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The Ban on Shark Fin Importation Act




Family of Filmmaker Rob Stewart speak

in support of the City Council Motion to Ban Shark Fin in Canada 


TORONTO (April 27, 2017) — Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker and MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith were joined by the family of the late, Rob Stewart, to declare their support for a federal ban on importation of shark fins into Canada.

This is the Stewart family's first joint public appearance to discuss Mr. Stewart's conservation work, since his unexpected death.  Alexandra Stewart, his sister attended the press conference with their parents, Brian and Sandy Stewart.

Mr. Rob Stewart was a Canadian photographer, filmmaker and conservationist.  He produced the award-winning 2006 documentary Sharkwater, a film that brought attention to the devastation caused by the shark fin industry and the destruction of ocean ecosystems, and continued the theme in his next film, Revolution.  He died in January 2017, while filming Sharkwater: Extinction, the sequel to Sharkwater

"Rob dedicated his life and work to raising awareness to the decimation of shark populations and was committed to seeing an end to the practice of shark finning.  He would be pleased to see this motion come forward and if he was with us today, he would be at the forefront of ensuring that the federal bill is approved," said Brian Stewart.

Councillor Wong-Tam states, "The conservation efforts to save sharks and promote ocean preservation in Asia is wide-spread, from the ban of shark finning by the Taiwanese government in 2012 to the elimination of shark fin soup from official Chinese-state functions in 2013 to the bans of shark fin cargo in Asia-based airlines, Air China and Cathay Pacific. Asian government and business leaders are responding to the environmental campaigns to save sharks being fished to extinction and so should the leaders in Canada."

This afternoon, Toronto City Council will vote on a motion that calls on the City to support Bill S-238.  The private member's bill was introduced to the Senate by Conservative Senator Michael MacDonald, from Nova Scotia.  Senator Macdonald's bill is the third federal bill introduced in 5 years to attempt to ban the importation of shark fin. 

NDP MP Fin Donnelly attempted to introduce the same bill in 2013 but the bill lost by 5 votes, under the Harper government.  The bill had unanimous support from all NDP and Liberal MPs at the time.

Liberal MP Erskine-Smith's private member bill, BC-246, a wide-ranging bill to modernize animal rights which included the federal importation ban of the shark fin was also defeated in October 2016.

Shark finning is a practice that involves cutting the fins off living sharks and then throwing the animals back into the ocean to die a slow and painful death. Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year to feed the global demand for shark fin soup.


  • In April 2017, Senator Michael L. MacDonald, introduced Bill S-238, which would prohibit the import of shark fins into Canada. Members of Parliament will vote on whether to advance the bill in the coming months
  • There are now 17 Canadian municipalities that have banned the sale of shark fin products: Abbotsford, Brantford, Coquitlam, Duncan, City of Langley, Township of Langley, London, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Newmarket, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Oakville, Pickering, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, and White Rock.
  • In 2012, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) passed a near-unanimous resolution calling on the federal government to ban shark fin imports.
  • In 2015, Canada imported 144,540 kg of shark fins —an increase of over 36 per cent since 2012, when 106, 109 kg entered our borders. (Source: Statistics Canada)
  • In 2013, in a poll conducted by a telephone survey of 2,006 Canadians for Humane Society International/Canada, Environics, 81% of Canadians supported a shark-fin import ban.
    • Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and entire ocean ecosystems. 
    • Sharks are being fished at the rate of 100,000,000 sharks per year. 10,000 sharks an hour.
    • Shark fin products are primarily served in a soup broth at Chinese banquets, such as weddings. The demand for this dish, coupled with unsustainable fishing methods, have led some shark populations to decline by as much as 99 percent in recent decades.



Media contact:

Melissa Wong 

(416) 873-4372




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Statement on Ongoing Hateful Incidents in Toronto


I emphatically stand against hatred of any kind in our city. The targeting of any race or religion for persecution is not acceptable in Canada. 

Recent events in Toronto, from rallies calling for the banning of Islam to bomb threats against the Jewish community underline an emboldened movement by extremists to revoke and erode Canadian values, rights, and freedoms. Just as Toronto is strengthened by the shared principles of a diverse population, Council too stands for unity against hate.

I spoke out against these trends only one month ago. Today, I am speaking out again. The 'protests' that organize to marginalize Canadians on our streets and at our civic spaces do so on their own. No special permits have been issued and none will be granted.

All of us face hardship and heartbreak in our lives. When we console ourselves with hate, we turn away from our humanity. The offences of individuals, imagined or real, ascribed to entire nations, races or religions, is not a path to peace. 


Public invited to debate, collaborate and create as consultation on City of Toronto's Long-Term Financial Plan continues


News Release 

March 27, 2017

Public invited to debate, collaborate and create as consultation on City of Toronto's Long-Term Financial Plan continues

The City of Toronto is launching Phase 2 of its public consultation on the renewal of its Long-Term Financial Plan. Information about the consultation, including background reports and engagement opportunities, a public workshop and an upcoming online survey, is available at http://www.investinginTO.ca/. The public is also invited to participate in the conversation on social media, using the hashtag #InvestinginTO.

For the second phase of consultation, the City is inviting members of the public to City Hall for a conversation about how it makes decisions and balances priorities that have a long-term financial impact.

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