City Builders’ unveiling: September 28

City Builders poster

The City Builders’ website, exhibition, oral history videos, and documentary will be unveiled to the public on September 28. A launch event will be held at York University, Keele Campus. Details below.

Exhibition unveiling: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Scott Library’s Atrium, 2nd floor
York University, Keele Campus.
Map here.
Please bring a smartphone or tablet with a data plan to access the exhibition’s digital content. You will need a QR code reader app. For best results, download the free mobile app izi.Travel here. Head/earphones are recommended.

Presentation and film screening: (Doors open at 6.30 p.m.) 7 p.m. – 10.00 p.m.
Price Family Cinema, Accolade East Building
York University, Keele Campus.
Map here.

Both events are free and open to all.

The first episode of the documentary focuses on the successful campaign by the Irish-Canadian labour activist Gerry Gallagher and his Laborers’ Local 183 to improve workplace safety legislation in Ontario in the 1960s-70s, when over 200 construction workers lost their lives building the city, above ground and under. The second episode focuses on the labour organization of Italian immigrant workers in the residential construction sector, known at the time as “the jungle” due to its terrible working conditions and widespread exploitation by developers and (sub)contractors. Led by the charismatic Bruno Zanini  ̶  a petty criminal and aspiring opera singer turned labour organizer ̶ and the thundering Charles Irvine  ̶ a shillelagh-wielding Scottish immigrant, who was once a banana boat worker  ̶ bricklayers, plasterers, cement-masons, carpenters, and labourers, organized as the Brandon Union Group, engaged in two major strikes in 1960 and 61; the latter being one of the largest and most violent in the city’s postwar history.

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