Thursday, September 19, 2019

"People & Nature Before Profit!" -- Communist Party releases its federal election platform leaflet

Recently we looked at the launch of the Communist Party's federal election campaign in Toronto this past Saturday.

Since the event was held the party has released its main election leaflet that outlines their comprehensive platform for a People's Agenda.

With headings such as "Halt Climate Change". "Expand Universal Social Programs - End Poverty" and "Tax the Greedy, Not the Needy", among others, the Communists are running on a genuinely transformative, anti-capitalist vision for the creation of a green economy and a socialist Canada.

Here is the leaflet in full. See the end of the post for links to all of the candidates the party has across the country as well as to their online resources.

(click on scans to enlarge)

Listed above are the five Toronto area Communist candidates. For the full list of the 31 candidates running across the country click here.

To read the platform online, click here. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Singh's statement on Trudeau's brownface controversy needs to be heard in full

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh's powerful comments on Wednesday night about the Trudeau brownface controversy need to be heard in full. Since the photo came to light many have sought to diminish the racism inherent in wearing blackface or brownface and seem oblivious to the pain and hurt it causes for people who have faced systemic racism their entire lives.

Singh makes it clear just how offensive it is and why it needs to be taken very seriously.
There was no excuse for donning such an offensive "costume" in 2001, but Singh here does not seek to score the obvious political points.

He speaks to the many millions of Canadians who face racism as a daily lived reality and to the many millions of "people who’ve grown up with racism.”

Singh's full 5 minute video statement is embedded below.  

Olympic Soviet Kiev -- 12 Panoramic Views of the City 1980

Recently we have looked at the Ukrainian city of Kiev during the Soviet era in posts like Traveling Down the Dnieper with Soviet Life, 1984 and The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic 1987: Photos, Culture, Economy, History & more.

Today we are looking at a folder of panoramic postcards of the city that were released in the lead up to the Olympic Summer Games held in the USSR in 1980.

Published prior to the boycott the cards are in several languages including English.

There are many amazing views including of the Central Sport Stadium, of huge new housing developments, of the view of the Dnieper from Vladimirskaya Hill, the Dynamo swimming complex and much more.

We have also included the folder's English language blurb about the city.

In the coming days we are planning on featuring a Canadian journalist's account of the games and some Soviet Olympic art.

(click on images to enlarge)

Festival of Sports in the Central Stadium

Rusanovka -- one of the new housing estates

The Shevchenko Opera and Ballet Theatre /
Ukraina Palace of Culture

Dynamo Swimming Pool

Kreshchatik - Kiev's main street

Monument to Lenin / Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR

View of the Dnieper from the Vladimirskaya Hill

Museum preserves and monuments to ancient architecture

Melnitsa Restaurant / Kureni Cafe

The Shevchenko State University /
Monument to Shevchenko

Lybid Hotel / Slavutich Hotel

Olympic Champions

These games were ultimately boycotted by the United States and other western countries (including Canada) ostensibly to protest the Soviet Union sending troops to aid in the defense of the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan. It is always worth remembering that the great stand taken in support of the obscurantist religious fanatics who, sadly, did eventually defeat the revolution with the Taliban coming to power, has not aged terribly well.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Golden Cook Caribbean Restaurant Reinvents Itself in New Toronto

Golden Cook Caribbean Restaurant and West Indian Store has been a fixture on the Lake Shore Blvd. strip of the south Etobicoke neighbourhood of New Toronto for many years.

Located just west of Islington Ave., it has always had good food, but until very recently you could only enjoy this as takeout. The spot consisted of a service counter and then a couple of aisles of assorted West Indian groceries and sauces.

After shutting down for a few weeks it has now reopened with a new dining area so that you can enjoy the fall-off-the-bone oxtail, the delicious goat and all the other dishes they have to offer dine in.

They do still have a grocery section as well so you can pick up some extras on the way out.

The oxtail in gravy is better than ever. Incredibly moist it can be had, as is true with all the dishes,  with plain rice or rice-and-peas.

The goat dinner is to my mind really a house specialty. It has their own unique saucing and is some of the best curried goat around. 

 Ackee and Saltfish is a Caribbean classic that is seen by many as Jamaica's national dish, and Golden Cook's version does not disappoint with its blend of salty and fruit flavours.

Some fried plantain on the side. Golden Cook also makes terrific dumplings.

A good menu is often a focused one and Golden Cook does all of its staples very well. Over years of trying what was on offer I have never had a dish that was a miss. 

All of the main dishes that we had ran from $10 for small to a high end of $17 for the large oxtail. The portions are very generous and service is quick and friendly.

Golden Cook is located at 2955 Lake Shore Boulevard W just west of Islington Ave. It is open Monday to Friday 10 am - 7 pm and Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 6 pm  (416) 259-3003. It is on the 501 streetcar line and just steps from the end of the Islington South bus route. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

"What horror the face of fascism creates!" - Víctor Jara, murdered by the Chilean fascist coup regime, September 16, 1973.

There are five thousand of us here
in this small part of the city.
We are five thousand.
I wonder how many we are in all
in the cities and in the whole country?
Here alone
are ten thousand hands which plant seeds
and make the factories run.
How much humanity
exposed to hunger, cold, panic, pain,
moral pressure, terror and insanity?
Six of us were lost
as if into starry space.
One dead, another beaten as I could never have believed
a human being could be beaten.
The other four wanted to end their terror
one jumping into nothingness,
another beating his head against a wall,
but all with the fixed stare of death.
What horror the face of fascism creates!
They carry out their plans with knife-like precision.
Nothing matters to them.
To them, blood equals medals,
slaughter is an act of heroism.
Oh God, is this the world that you created,
for this your seven days of wonder and work?
Within these four walls only a number exists
which does not progress,
which slowly will wish more and more for death.
But suddenly my conscience awakes
and I see that this tide has no heartbeat,
only the pulse of machines
and the military showing their midwives’ faces
full of sweetness.
Let Mexico, Cuba and the world
cry out against this atrocity!
We are ten thousand hands
which can produce nothing.
How many of us in the whole country?
The blood of our President, our compañero,
will strike with more strength than bombs and machine guns!
So will our fist strike again!

How hard it is to sing
when I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living,
horror which I am dying.
To see myself among so much
and so many moments of infinity
in which silence and screams
are the end of my song.
What I see, I have never seen
What I have felt and what I feel
Will give birth to the moment …

- Estadio Chile, Víctor Jara, murdered by the Chilean fascist coup regime, September 16, 1973. 

Jara -- a poet, singer, teacher and leftist activist was tortured and murdered by the fascist forces of Augusto Pinochet after the American backed coup against the democratically elected Marxist government of Salvador Allende in Chile.

The sick and cruel cowards who had herded him and thousands of others into the Estadio Chile smashed his hands to taunt him as a guitar player and musician before shooting him to death and dumping his body on the street. 

During the few days before his murder he wrote the poem above and it was smuggled out of the stadium. 

In 2004 the Estadio Chile was renamed Estadio Víctor Jara

To read more about his murder and the poem see: victor jara and the story of his last poem


Sunday, September 15, 2019

"The problem is capitalism. The solution is socialism." -- Communist Party campaign launches in Toronto

The Communist Party of Canada launched its Toronto area federal election campaign on the Danforth Saturday night with a lively event at which leader Liz Rowley and several candidates spoke.

All the candidates touched on important themes for both the country and the communities they are running in.

Ivan Byard (Toronto Danforth) talked about housing issues while noting that the party's ultimate aim was "working class political power". Bronwyn Cragg, who is up against Finance Minister Bill Morneau in Toronto Centre, framed himself as the millennial taking on the billionaire. He noted that wealthy Morneau's riding had the fourth highest child poverty rate of any in the country clearly indicating that the Trudeau government's priorities are the wrong ones.

Ontario party leader Drew Garvie, running against Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in University Rosedale focused on her terrible foreign policy record in Venezuela, Ukraine and generally. He stated that alone of all the parties, the Communists are confronting western imperialist narratives head on.

Parkdale-High Park candidate Alykhan Pabani spoke powerfully of how landlords in his community are engaging in the "violence of displacement" by driving out tenants using nefarious and frequently illegal methods. To the Liberal plan to tackle the housing crisis by making it easier to buy $800,000 houses he responded "are you serious" and likened it to someone taking the backpack off of a person dangling from the edge of a cliff so as to "lighten their load".

Harinderpal Hundal for Brampton West and Juanita Burnett for Guelph were also in attendance and spoke to how they are organizing in their constituencies to get the Communist message out to people.

Hitting on issues related to all of the three major pillars of the party's campaign -- the economy, climate change and foreign policy -- leader Elizabeth Rowley, who is running in Davenport, spoke at length as to why if Communists got elected "parliament would be an entirely different place."

On the economy she noted that a poll showed half of those who responded were $200 away from disaster at the end of every month. "Working people are living on the edge" due to decades of cutbacks, privatization and neo-liberalism. Communists would counter this in part with programs like genuine, universal pharmacare, free childcare and free education including post-secondary education. She stated that the only thing that should matter when it comes to getting into a university is marks.

Noting that a $15 an hour minimum wage no longer cuts it in many communities, the Communists are calling for $20 an hour. She said the party favours lowering the retirement age to 60 as well as shortening the work week with no loss in pay. Both measures, in addition to making the lives of people better, would help boost employment.

She also called out Canada's trade deals as little more than "economic constitutions" for corporations that need to be repealed. The Communists would prevent the danger of corporations moving factories to other countries via plant closure legislation.

Ultimately, Rowley said, "The problem is capitalism. The solution is socialism."

With regard to climate change, Rowley began by framing carbon taxes as an empty "solution" that does nothing more than turn emissions into a commodity. It is capping and reversing the emissions themselves that are the only way to confront the critical emergency facing Canada, with the Communist goal being to end them by 2050.

Key to the Communist climate strategy is to seize the ownership of natural resources out of the hands of multinationals and place them under public and democratic control. This would allow the government to take important steps like guaranteeing the jobs of tar sands workers during the transition to a green economy. 

Rowley rousingly went further to demand that the banks, insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations also be democratized and nationalized.

The Communist Party is the only party campaigning for "peace and disarmament" and Rowley stated the importance of this in today's international context where the danger of nuclear war remains very real. She also asserted the party's unequivocal opposition to interference in the affairs of sovereign countries and the ongoing attempts at imperialist regime change in Venezuela and elsewhere.

She ended with an analysis of how the danger from the far right in Canada is rising and how the Conservatives have direct and clear ties to it. Maxime Bernier and his People's Party, after all, only came in the wake of him losing the Conservative leadership to Scheer by a tiny margin. A progressive bloc is needed to stop this and Communists are essential to ensuring that this bloc pursues a people's agenda.

To those who worry that a vote for the Communists is a wasted vote, Rowley countered that it sends a message to the ruling classes and bourgeois parties as they know that for everyone who voted communist "100 were thinking about it and 1,000 were wondering." It is a ballot cast for "someone that is worth voting for".

The Communist Party is running 31 candidates across Canada. A list can be found here. Their full platform can be found here.

Climate Strikes, Israeli Elections, Hurricane Dorian & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos September 8 - 15

This week's list of articles, news items, opinion pieces and videos that I see as a must if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of September 8 - 15.

For those interested in news and developments in the Canadian election this will be covered in a separate weekly roundup the first of which this past Friday was: Planes, Rhinos, Lackluster Debates and more -- The Left Chapter Canadian Election Round-up Week One

1) Doug Ford government held talks with PC donor on removing Greenbelt land

Mike Crawley, CBC News

The Ontario government spent nearly a year in talks with a developer about a pitch to build housing in the province's Greenbelt, despite Premier Doug Ford's promise not to touch the protected area, CBC News has learned.

2) Indigenous Women in Canada Are Still Being Sterilized Without Their Consent

Ankita Rao, Vice

In the 20th century, the U.S. and Canada carried out a quiet genocide against Indigenous women through coerced sterilization. In 2019, it’s still happening.

3) Large Communist vote in Portugal Oct. 6 key to preserving working-class gains

John Wojcik, People's World 

Mainstream TV and newspapers, coordinated attacks on social media, and huge amounts of corporate money are all prominent features of a campaign underway in this country to reduce the size of the Communist Party (PCP) vote in the coming parliamentary elections on Oct. 6.

4) That Sun Column Was No Outlier. Postmedia Has Embraced Dishonest, Dangerous Propaganda

Sean Holman, The Tyee

Despite the executives’ apologies, Hecht’s op-ed is just another example of Postmedia content that undermines journalism to propagandize for radicalized right causes.

5) EU accused of adopting ‘fascist rhetoric’ with new Commissioner For Protecting Our European Way of Life to oversee immigration policy

Jon Stone, The Independent 

The EU commission has been accused of adopting “grotesque” and “fascist” rhetoric after it created a new “Commissioner for Protecting our European Way of Life” role to oversee immigration policy.

6) As evacuations continue, hundreds of Bahamians were told to get off a ferry headed to the US

Christina Maxouris, CNN

"This is the height of cruelty -- denying help to those who need it most," Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said on Twitter Sunday night. "This administration has said the words on the Statue of Liberty should be rewritten, and in their actions, they are already changing who we are as a country."

7) The plight of Hurricane Dorian evacuees offers a frightening vision of 'climate apartheid'

Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian 

It is perfectly possible that nothing more insidious than administrative confusion led to those 119 Bahamians being kicked off a ferry. But Trump’s comments about “very bad people” also means it’s perfectly possible that more malicious motives were at play. No matter who is at fault, however, this episode should leave us all very unsettled. As the climate crisis progresses, there will be more climate migrants seeking temporary or permanent reprieve. They will not be met with open arms and open borders. They will be met with no legal recognition and little protection, as they won’t have refugee status. They will be met with racism. They will be met, as a UN expert recently warned, with a growing system of climate apartheid. And, if the likes of Katie Hopkins (Trump’s favourite Brit) have their way, eventually they will be met with gun boats.

8) Communists gain in Moscow council elections

The Morning Star

RUSSIAN communists won 13 seats in Moscow city council elections at the weekend, amid widespread protests at the banning of opposition parties from standing.

9) Jason Kenney: Vladimir Putin’s Jailing of Dissidents is ‘Instructive’ on How to Deal With Environmentalists

Press Progress

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told oil executives that environmental groups might think twice about exercising their right to protest if Alberta took a firmer approach, citing Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin as one example.

10) Boris Johnson Lied to the Queen to Get Parliament Suspended, Court Rules

David Gilbert, Vice

A court in Scotland added to the unending Brexit mess on Wednesday, by unanimously ruling Prime Minister Boris Johnson lied to the queen in order to suspend Parliament, a move it has labeled unlawful.

11) "We are not monkeys" - West Papuans demand self-determination in London

James Ivens, East London Socialist Party

Dozens of West Papuan protesters and supporters demonstrated outside the Indonesian embassy on 7 September against state repression of the independence movement.

12) Governing is not for amateurs

Frei Betto, Granma 

A powerful ideological machine that favors the privatization of the state is intent upon inducing people to no longer believe in politicians, parties, or public power. Now, it’s everyone for themselves and God for me. After the demonization of socialism, now we have the repudiation of liberal democracy, focused on the promotion of equal rights. Not even the social pact that laid the foundation for the welfare state deserves any credit lately.


Communist Party of Canada

The Communist Party of Canada stands with progressive and democratic voices around the world in condemning the Indian government’s decision to attack the national rights of Jammu and Kashmir, by abrogating its constitutional special status and denying it of its right to Indian statehood. In the process, the reactionary government of Narendra Modi has fanned the flames of ethnic and religious division, regional conflict, and war involving nuclear armed states.

14) California Just Banned Private Prisons, Including ICE Detention Facilities

Gaby Del Valle, Vice

California just passed a bill banning all for-profit prisons and immigrant detention facilities in the state, the Guardian reports — and some of these facilities could be gone as early as next year.

15) Suicide rates at 20 year high: an indictment of Tory austerity

Mona Kamal, Counterfire

Lost amid the Westminster high drama this week was a stark reminder of the human consequences of austerity, with news that 2018 saw the highest rate of recorded suicides in almost 20 years. According to the report by the Office of National Statistics, 6,507 suicides were registered in 2018, an increase of 11.8% on 2017 figures alone and the highest since 2002.

16) “Ossies,” former East Germans, compare socialist youth with life under capitalism

John Wojcik, People's World

A crowd gathered at the Babylon Theater here Saturday for an annual memorial for Dean Reed, the American “rebel,” rock star, and filmmaker who famously defected to “East Germany” (the German Democratic Republic, or GDR) in 1972. Those in attendance were among Reed’s most ardent fans, of whom he had many thousands in the GDR when he died in 1986.

17) Beyond the music: Portugal’s Avante! festival combines culture and Marxist politics

Chauncey K. Robinson, People's World

Hundreds of thousands gathered this past weekend for a three-day extravaganza of culture and revolutionary politics in the Lisbon suburb of Amora. While the annual Avante! Festival (Festa do Avante!) has a musical lineup that could rival the profit-driven Coachella, the jamboree was embedded with the spirit of resistance and anti-fascism.

18) Juanita Abernathy, 'Cornerstone' Of Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dies At 87

Brakkton Booker, NPR

"The men received most of the credit, but behind the scenes women were often the doers, the organizers, and advocates, who formed the backbone of the struggle. Juanita Abernathy was no exception and was often a shining example"

19) Jeff Bezos abruptly cuts health benefits for nearly 2,000 part-time Whole Foods workers

Eoin Higgins, Salon

"Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world," Boston-based activist Jonathan Cohn saidon Twitter. "This is disgusting."

20) Norway’s Socialist Left Is Ascendant

Kelly McKowen, Jacobin 

Norway’s Labor Party took a hit in this week’s elections. But the radical left surged — showing that socialist politics are still alive in the Nordic country.

21) ‘They’re exploiting a child in need’: Women’s groups say law is protecting male predators

 Kathleen Martens, APTN News

When the Winnipeg Police Service revealed results of it sex-buying crackdown last week one thing was missing – the names of 34 men they arrested.

22) Former Colombian guerrillas rearm as government undermines peace accords

James Jordan, Green Left Weekly 

A new phase of armed conflict in Colombia has emerged with the declaration by some former leaders of the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army) that they are reorganising and rearming as an insurgent force.

23) Venezuela: Guaido Under Investigation over Essequibo Bargaining Revelations

Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis

Guaido envoy Vanessa Neumann was caught on tape offering to relinquish Venezuela’s historic claim in exchange for backing  from London.

24) Maduro: 'Tremendous Scandal', Guaido With Colombian Narcos


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called the images of self-declared interim president Juan Guaido next to members of the Colombian paramilitary group, Los Rastrojos, a "tremendous scandal."

25) Cuba’s response to the blockade: More Revolution!


Addressed at length on Cuban television’s Mesa Redonda program, broadcast from Revolution Palace with the participation of Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, were the tense energy situation the country is experiencing; its causes and bitter roots in the U.S. blockade; and especially measures taken to minimize the negative impact on the national economy and services for the population.

26) Netanyahu's campaign warns Israeli voters: 'Arabs want to annihilate us all'

Middle Easy Eye

A rights group filed a legal complaint on Wednesday after media revealed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook page asked followers to send warning messages to potential voters saying: “Arabs wants to annihilate us all; women, children and men.”

27) Netanyahu’s Facebook page suspended over hate speech

Zamira Rahim, The Independent 

Facebook has sanctioned Benjamin Netanyahu’s official page, after a post called on voters to oppose a government composed of “Arabs who want to destroy us all – women, children and men.”

28) Right-wing Jews said behind billboards calling on Arabs not to vote

The Times of Israel 

Campaigns to suppress the vote in April were commissioned by Jews, with an American nonprofit footing the bill in one case, report says.

29) Netanyahu Says Israel Will Annex Jordan Valley if Reelected

Noa Landau and Yotam Berger, Haaretz 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he would extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dea Sea if reelected.

30) Canada appeals court ruling against settlement wines labelled 'Product of Israel'

Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, Middle East Eye 

"Sadly, the appeal looks to be solely for political reasons –to appeal to certain voters and lobbyists– rather than to pose any legitimate challenges to the judge's interpretation of Canadian law," said Corey Balsam, national coordinator of Independent Jewish Voices-Canada, a Jewish advocacy group that supports Palestinian rights.

31) Netanyahu and Pence: Boris Johnson's warmonger allies

Lucy Nichols, Counterfire 

Last week, Boris Johnson met with Benjamin Netanyahu and Mike Pence in surprise meetings at Downing Street. Johnson, in the middle of a Parliamentary crisis, met Netanyahu to discuss Iran and the two-state solution in Palestine. With Pence, he discussed Brexit, trade deals with the US, and Iran.

32) As the Amazon forest burns, corporate media deflects blame

Brian Mier, Green Left Weekly

I spent last week in the Brazilian Amazon in Porto Velho, Rondonia, on the edge of what is called the arco do incendios. The “arc of fires” is a region stretching along the yet-to-be-paved highways 319 and 230, between the towns of Humaitá and Apui in Southern Amazonas, a state that still had 98% of its virgin rainforest intact as of last year.

33) This Is Not the Sixth Extinction. It’s the First Extermination Event.

Justin McBrien, Truthout

From the “insect apocalypse” to the “biological annihilation” of 60 percent of all wild animals in the past 50 years, life is careening across every planetary boundary that might stop it from experiencing a “Great Dying” once more.

34) 'Holy Smokes, This Thing Could Get HUGE': NYC Public Schools to Let Students #ClimateStrike

Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams 

Climate advocates celebrated Thursday after New York City's public school system announced it would excuse the absences of students who have a parent's permission to participate in the global climate strike on Friday, Sept. 20.

35) Climate Strike: It's gunna be huge

Kerry Smith, Green Left Weekly

Support for the September 20 student-led global Climate Strike is growing in Australia as the big day nears. Councils, unions and churches are declaring their support and more strikes are being organised every day in what is building up to be the biggest day of protest since the 2003 anti-Iraq war mobilisations.

36) Climate emergency: more at stake than a hotter summer

Pip Hinman, Green Left Weekly

Catastrophic fires in New South Wales and Queensland have come early in the fire season, which usually starts in October. Climate scientists and frontline fire fighters agree: they are a consequence of climate change.

37) Extreme weather drives demand for action on climate crisis

Margaret Gleeson, Green Left Weekly

“Ahead of the UN Global Climate Summit in New York in September, the public want to see the Australian government take a leadership role when it comes to global action on climate change.”

38) EPA Makes Rollback Of Clean Water Rules Official, Repealing 2015 Protections

Bill Chappell, NPR

The Trump administration is changing the definition of what qualifies as "waters of the United States," tossing out an Obama-era regulation that had enhanced protections for wetlands and smaller waterways.

39) New Reporting Claims Brett Kavanaugh Did Touch Yale Classmates With His Penis—Twice

Tom Scocca, Slate

“At least seven people” were aware of the story that Brett Kavanaugh had drunkenly exposed his penis to an unwilling Yale classmate, who ended up touching it while trying to avoid him, the New York Times reported. In an excerpt from their forthcoming book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation, Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly wrote that Deborah Ramirez’s account of being confronted by the future Supreme Court justice’s penis—an incident that Kavanaugh’s supporters dismissed as uncorroborated during his 2018 confirmation hearings—was supported by their later reporting.

40) 'Going to the streets again': what you need to know about Friday's climate strike

Lisa Cox, The Guardian 

The global mass day of action will take place on Friday 20 September, three days before the United Nations climate summit in New York.

41) Global Climate Strike

This September, millions of us will walk out of our workplaces and homes to join young climate strikers on the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.

See also: Johnson Fiasco, Hurricane Dorian, the Amazon & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos September 1 - 8

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Cottage Years: A nostalgic photographic exhibit about the historic Etobicoke community of Long Branch

The Cottage Years is a show being held at Humber College's South Etobicoke campus that combines local history, photographs and art. It "provides a nostalgic trip through photo albums of years past as a means of exploring the tourism industry that shaped the community of Long Branch 135 years ago. The exhibit brings together photographs, maps, artifacts, and illustrations from across seven decades of local history set alongside paintings of Etobicoke Creek by local artist, Pat Rice."

Long Branch was an early satellite community of Toronto and is now a part of Etobicoke. It was centered around Long Branch Ave. (which still exists) and was known for its beaches, cottages and summer attractions.

There are some incredible photographs and the Exhibit Guide -- which is free as is the show itself -- is remarkably comprehensive providing a considerable amount of historical context and information.

Among the many exhibits are photos of the great historic houses of the area, cottages on stilts to spare them from flooding, a tiny little newlywed's cabin, recreational grounds, and photos of early streetcars and the boats that would take 40 minutes to ferry travelers to downtown Toronto.

One bit of local history that I had never heard of was the story of the Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Park which had 367 permanent residents at its height in the late 50s.

To me the most striking photo is the powerful, though tragic, shot of the Long Branch Hotel fire in 1958.

Here we look at some of the pieces you will find. See the end of the post for details on the location and hours of the show which ends September 28.

The show is on the 3rd floor of the Humber College Student Welcome and Resource Centre, 2 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive which is at the southwest corner of Lake Shore Blvd W, and Kipling.

It is on the 501 streetcar line and the 44 Kipling South bus route. 

The show runs until September 28 and is open to the public. While you are visiting be sure to check out the spectacular Sam Smith Park that is just to the east and south and that is one of Toronto's waterfront gems. You could even make a trip to the amazing Whimbrel Point.