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A project to preserve and share the histories of Toronto grassroots community groups

April 8, 2020

The Connexions Archive is pleased to announce the completion of a year-long project to digitize and share the documentary history of Toronto grassroots community groups. The project was funded by Library and Archives Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program.

The project, “Building stronger communities by building on the past: Sharing the histories of Toronto’s grassroots community groups,” built on the work done in a previous digitization and virtual exhibit project. A significant number of periodicals and vertical file documents were scanned during the project, catalogued with descriptions, and put online. The project also involved writing and designing interpretative materials which explain and provide context for these documents. An important objective is to make these materials accessible and interesting to students studying Canadian society, urban studies, and issues such as gentrification, poverty, homelessness, access to health care, and other issues.

These articles and interpretative materials can be accessed through this page. They are an addition to the large website maintained by Connexions, devoted to the history of movements for social justice, in Canada and in other countries.

Connexions Co-ordinator Ulli Diemer said “This project enables us to make a significant collection of documents available to a wide audience. We are especially pleased to have been able to complete the project before the current public health restrictions related to COVID-19 come into effect. Our archive of paper documents is an important piece of Canadian heritage, and we are always glad when researchers come in to use it, but digitizing the materials and making them available online makes it possible for many more people to view the materials.”

The project also involved doing oral history interviews with people who participated in various social movements and recording their memories and analyses for future generations.

Here is a very partial list of some of the periodicals digitized for this project:
Toronto Citizen
Toronto Clarion
The ACTivist
Community Economics
Issues and Actions
Reform Metro News
Metro Network for Social Justice (MNSJ) Newsletter

Here is a partial list of some overview/background articles written to provide context for this project:
Afro-American Progressive Association
Alternative Schools in Toronto in the 1960s & early 1970s
Black Power in Toronto
Community Homophile Association of Toronto (CHAT)
Fair Play for Cuba Committee
The Injured Workers Movement
The Just Society Movement
Necropolis Cemetery
Rooming Houses in Toronto - 1960s & 1970s
Stop Spadina Save Our City Co-ordinating Committee (SSSOCCC)
Toronto Warrior Society
Toronto Women’s Liberation Movement (TWLM)
Toronto’s Historic Cemeteries
United Jewish People’s Order
Yorkville in the 1960s

Ulli Diemer
Connexions Archive & Library

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