Pathways To Toronto

Pathways to Toronto is an online exhibition that explores the life stories of six individuals who, over the past two centuries, have moved to Toronto to live and work.

The exhibit invites viewers to contemplate the motivations, journey and settlement of newcomers and asks them to consider the role that policy, community and multiculturalism have played in making Toronto one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.

For each individual the story begins in the country of their birth. What were their lives like before they came to Toronto? What motivated them to leave? Was it their choice to leave or were they forced to flee? Why did they come to Toronto and did they stay?

Through a critical lens, the exhibit asks the viewer to consider the impact of this movement on the individual’s sense of identity and belonging. What are factors that have helped newcomers to survive, settle and adjust in a new place? Is this process always easy? What makes it difficult?

Migration is never linear. Like identity, it is complex. Through a combination of agency, freedom, opportunity and support, individuals have been able to create a life for themselves in Toronto. Some have thrived and other have struggled. When reading each story, consider these differences and challenge yourself to think of ways to make Toronto a more inclusive society that can bring people from around the world together, allowing them to thrive. 


A pilot project, Pathways to Toronto was researched by Digital History undergraduate students from the University of Toronto Scarborough and was interpreted by Museum Studies graduate students from the University’s iSchool. A collaboration between the Toronto Ward Museum, the students and their professors, Donna Gabaccia and Irina D. Mihalache, the project took over a year to produce. Undergraduate Digital History students began by researching stories of migration to Toronto. Many chose to interview and write about their families. Once the research was complete they passed their work on to Global Cultures and Museums graduate students to interpret and develop the exhibit. What you see here is their work.


Online Exhibit


The trajectory of this story is loosely based on the life of an immigrant who chose to remain anonymous.

Grażyna Gorski

Grażyna Gorski was born in Białystok, Poland in 1965 and grew up in a small farming village on the outskirts of the city.


Marites Segui was born on February 16, 1963 in the Cagayan Province of the Philippines.


Peter Paparizos was born in the rural village of Nestorio in the Kastoria region of Greece on April 20, 1961.


Susanna was born to Thomas and Elizabeth Strickland in 1803. The family moved to Suffolk, England when she was five years old.


Thornton was born around 1812 into a society where he had limited control over his own life.

This exhibition was made
possible by:

Historical and Cultural Studies Logo

Curatorial team:

Gracia Dyer Jalea 

Anja Hamilton

Developer and Designer:

Sarah Hamdi

Special thanks to:

Donna Gabaccia, Professor of History and Interim Chair, Historical and Cultural Studies

Irina D. Mihalache, Assistant Professor of Museum Studies, Faculty of Information

Stephanie M. Cavanaugh, Doctoral Candidate in History; Historical Research Consultant

Sarah Forbes, Scholarly Communications Librarian

Whitney Kemble, Liaison Librarian for Historical and Cultural Studies

Kim Pham, Digital Projects & Technologies Librarian

Lydia Zvyagintseva, Digital Humanities Librarian

Global Cultures & Museums

Halie Albertson
India Burchell
Victoria Byers
Karthy Chin
Samantha Easy
Jennifer Ford
Catherine Fournier Boulianne
Lucie Handley-Girard
Kristina Karakolis
Caitlin March
Maureen Marshall
Jasmine Proteau
Stephanie Read
Erika Robertson
Katelyn Roughley
Pauline Szczesniak
Rachael Thiessen
Alyssa Trudeau
Mary Kate Whibbs
Katherine Wilson
Lou Yang

Digital History

Jabril Abdi
Jenissa Asirvatham
Shivani Desai
Marsaydees Ferrell
Peter Gorski
Gutana Guysa
Kaitlin Lalljee
Adley Lobo
Alysha Navarro
Gregory Naidopoulos
Tommy Paparizos
Joseph Roccasalva
Jeremy Sagan
Gerrit Steinbach