The Ward: The Life and Loss of Toronto’s First Immigrant Neighbourhood

By John Lorinc

From the 1840s until the Second World War, waves of newcomers who migrated to Toronto — Irish, Jewish, Italian, African American and Chinese, among others — landed in ‘The Ward’. Crammed with rundown housing and immigrant-owned businesses, this area, bordered by College and Queen, University and Yonge streets, was home to bootleggers, Chinese bachelors, workers from the nearby Eaton’s garment factories and hard-working peddlers. But the City considered it a slum, and bulldozed the area in the late 1950s to make way for a new civic square.

The Ward finally tells the diverse stories of this extraordinary and resilient neighbourhood through archival photos and contributions from a wide array of voices, including historians, politicians, architects, story­­tellers, journalists and descendants of Ward residents. Their perspectives on playgrounds, tuberculosis, sex workers, newsies and even bathing bring The Ward to life and, in the process, raise important questions about how contemporary cities handle immigration, poverty and the geography of difference.
320 pages

Location: Toronto
# Cultural

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