The Toronto Ward Museum is a museum without walls dedicated to telling Toronto’s migration history through the life stories of migrants to the area. Using the city as its canvas and through interactive and event based programming, the Museum invites audiences to engage with stories of migration from Toronto’s past. Through its programming it asks audiences to connect these stories, not only to their own personal history, but to current day issues affecting newcomer communities today.
Focusing on personal narratives, the Museum seeks to build bridges between individuals, communities and generations by reflecting on the shared experiences that has motivated migration to Toronto, while also acknowledging how these lived experiences have and continue to shape the city.
Recognizing that the stories and voices of marginalized communities are seldom privileged and are often underrepresented in institutions dedicated to sharing this history, the Museum strives to create inclusive spaces and opportunities that enable individuals from across the city to share their stories and to have those stories heard, valued and seen as being vital to our understanding of Toronto’s history.
By partnering and collaborating with the Museum, individuals are supported in their efforts to share their stories with the public and are invited to co-develop and deliver the Museum’s programming.
Partnering with institutions like Pier 21 has been vitally important to our growth and development as an organization. In the past two years we have learned a great deal from our partners who come from over four different sectors: heritage, arts and culture, academia, advocacy and settlement. Quite simply put we cannot have accomplished what we have done in the past year without their generosity, guidance and support. Since our inception, we have benefited greatly from the diverse sectors, communities and voices engaged in our work.
This year, we’re pleased to announce that we are set to launch our first set of programs, which include:
- Pathways to Toronto (Launch: May 2016), an interactive online exhibition that explores the various factors that have influenced migration to Toronto over the past two centuries. Through the life stories of six individuals the exhibit invites the viewer to contemplate the motivations, journey and settlement of newcomers to the area and asks them to consider the role that policy, community and multiculturalism have played in helping to establish Toronto as one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. The exhibit was co-produced by undergraduate students from Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough and graduate students at the University of Toronto’s iSchool Museum Studies program.
- Dishing Up Toronto (June 22-25, 2016), a series of food and storytelling tours set to launch in June. In collaboration with Culinaria from the University of Toronto Scarborough and Heritage Toronto, Dishing Up Toronto is a series of food tours that will take audience members to pockets of the city that will be introduced through the life stories of local residents who have developed and who will lead the tours. Dishes selected by local residents will help bring their migration stories to life and will function as a point of departure for sharing and critical reflection around questions of identity, migration, home, citizenship and belonging.
And much more!
Through food, art and digital media we hope to engage diverse audiences from across the city, making this history both accessible and exciting.
To learn more about the Museum, our partners, and our programming, please visit: www.wardmuseum.ca
Gracia Dyer Jalea is a co-founder of the Toronto Ward Museum. For the past 9 years she has worked as an educator, fundraiser and arts and culture professional. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Studies and World Religions from McGill University and a Master of Arts degree in Media Studies from Concordia University. Traveling is her passion. She has travelled to over 28 countries across 5 different continents, and as a self professed Trekkie cannot wait for a time when she can travel among the stars.