|The only known photo of the 1933 Christie Pits Riot|
The riot saw Jews and Italians take direct action in self-defence against a Toronto "Swastika Club" that was displaying swastika banners and inciting hatred during a baseball game in the Christie Pits park.
Their courage in standing up to these racists helped to stop the growth of Swastika Clubs and represented a serious setback for the city's fascists and Nazis at a time when antisemitism was dangerously on the rise.
|Click to enlarge|
Long Branch is now a fully developed part of Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto that borders Mississauga in the west of the metropolis.
But in 1933 it was a separate, sleepy community that had many cottagers and summer vistors in it due to its lake front aspect and its famous beaches.
As the Globe and Mail article relates, the municipality of Long Branch decided to ban all Jews not from Long Branch (and there were likely not many of those) from its beaches. Despite the obvious racism at work the town's Deputy Reeve Charles Brock tried to claim it had nothing to do with race!
This history of racism and resistance resonates again now especially with a US administration openly sympathetic to white supremacist narratives, the rise of the far right across Europe and the growth of homegrown fascist and racist groups in Toronto and Canada.
Today these groups and regimes often primarily target Muslims and people of the Islamic faith, though their broader racism and antisemitism is rarely far from the surface. As many right wing politicians pander to Islamophobic narratives, scapegoat immigrants and refugees and call for banning certain types of dress or even denying access to public services and spaces to those who wear them, it is important to remember the long and awful past such thinking has.