Now and Then explores the stories behind Toronto’s historical plaques and monuments.
Some of the delegation that went to Ottawa to protest immigration rules in 1954. Donald Willard Moore is in the top left. Today is the anniversary of the delegation. Photo from the Toronto Star.
Donald Willard Moore, the man who became known as “Uncle Don,” was born on November 2, 1891, at Lodge Hill, St. Michael Parish, Barbados. He moved to New York at 21, and arrived in Montreal shortly after. He may have been already trained as a tailor, but many occupations were closed to Black people in early 20th century Canada. Moore took a job as a sleeping car porter with Canadian Pacific, a job many Black men were recruited for.
He saved money to study dentistry at Dalhousie in 1918, but after catching tuberculosis, he left his studies and returned to Toronto. Moore spent the rest of his long life as a pillar of the community and an activist for the rights of Black people and immigrants in Canada.
This is the column I really didn’t want to write. I don’t believe in moralizing and punishing or frightening people into doing the right thing. So I don’t want to write that column about how bad climate change is, and how we really ought to be scared out of our wits and out of our cars.
Then I spent a few days in Vancouver. British Columbia is the province where the Green Party is taken most seriously and where the environmental movement has been most active. This has translated into actual policy and planning for change. For example, Vancouver has made enormous progress in reducing car use in the city, where 50 per cent of all trips are made by other means.
So it’s no surprise that it was in Vancouver that I had a long chat with a friend, as we walked the seawall in the rain, about governments and climate change. And it reminded me I needed to write this column about the urgency with which transportation policy should be designed to respond to climate change.
With apologies, what follows is a bit of a sermon. For what it’s worth, it is primarily aimed at the party that truly deserves a metaphorical kick in the head for the stupidest, most destructive decision I’ve seen in quite a while: the Ontario government, for its decision to widen yet another stretch of the 401 from six to 12 lanes.
We’re mid-week in the final week of shows at the historic music venue The Silver Dollar Room, before it’s closed for renovations and an uncertain future. Some pretty hot and heavy bands, including Dilly Dally, Metz, and Blood Ceremony, are playing the final few nights, but tonight’s event, Crazy Strings: The Silver Dollar’s Final Bluegrass Hoedown, is a throwback edition to the long-running and popular High Lonesome Wednesdays. Bands confirmed to appear include the Foggy Hogtown Boys, Houndstooth, and The Unseen Strangers; online tickets are sold out, but there will be a limited number of rush tickets at the door—get there early.
Wednesday, April 26, The Silver Dollar Room (486 Spadina Avenue), 9 p.m., $15.
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