The project

Archives of Ontario 1The City Builders research and public history project, associated with The Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University, was launched in September 2017, thanks to a generous gift from the Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 183. Significant funding was also provided by the Mariano A. Elia Chair in Italian Canadian Studies. Led by Dr. Gilberto Fernandes, the City Builders aims to record, preserve, and divulge the fascinating history of metropolitan Toronto’s construction industry; particularly the working experiences and labour organization of its immigrant workforce after the Second World War.

The City Builders’ outputs include:

  • This website, which is packed with content in the form of text, photos, infographics, audio recordings, videos, interactive maps and timelines;
  • The digitization of over 3,200 photos from the Toronto Telegram collection in the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, York University Libraries;
  • A travelling exhibition with artifacts, display banners, and extensive augmented reality digital content;
  • A series of nineteen short (6-8 minute) oral history videos about the lives of retired construction workers and union members;
  • A two-part documentary about two transformative moments in the history of Metro Toronto’s construction industry and labour movement.

All of the above are freely available online and accessible through this website. The City Builders‘ outputs were first unveiled to the public on September 28, 2018, at York University.