A Very Loyal British City:

Irish Immigration to Toronto in the 1950's

By Seán David Adams
A Very Loyal British City: Irish Immigration to Toronto During the 1950's

The month of March in the year of 1990 witnessed a level of activity in Toronto's Irish community unprecedented in the history of this city. In addition to the third annual St.Patrick's Day Parade through downtown Toronto, some 30,000 people gathered in the Skydome to watch Gaelic Football and hurling matches as part of the St. Patrick's Irish Games. The Canadian Association for Irish Studies held its annual conference from March 7 to 11 and coinciding with this meeting was the first ever Toronto Irish Film Festival. A new Irish-Canadian newspaper was launched the month before (the Irish Canada News) adding an alternative to the previously established Toronto Irish News. These recent developments are the culmination of years of activity in Toronto's Irish community. In addition to the above, the city presently hosts three Irish music radio programmes, the Irish Players theatre group, the Irish-Canadian Centre, Irish language classes, a wide variety of Pubs and shops, various Cultural associations, and Irish solidarity organizations.

This level of activity and visibility among the Irish in Toronto is a relatively new phenomenon; it certainly did not exist in the city during the 1950's. In fact, none of the above activities - from the St. Patrick's Day Parade, to Irish-Canadian newspapers, to Irish pubs - were present in mid-twentieth century Toronto. Yet, it was precisely during this period that Irish immigrants flocked to Toronto, and indeed that the roots of today's Irish community were planted. In this paper, an attempt will be made to explain why the Irish community was so inactive and invisible in Toronto during the 1950's and to examine some of the developments that paved the way for the Irish-Canadian revival in the decades to follow. As is implied by the above statement, an argument will be made that the source of the developments and changes in Toronto's Irish community can be found by examining the history of Irish immigration and settlement in this city in the post-Second World War era.

Surprisingly, the study of Irish immigration to Toronto during this formative period has been neglected by historians. Other major and even minor ethnic groups have been extensively examined while the Irish have been ignored. In fact, one has to go back to the end of the last century or the beginning of this one to find historical writings on the Irish in Toronto. This has been the case partially because historians of ethnic groups have traditionally considered "ethnic" to mean non-British or non-English-speaking and partially because when English-speaking immigrants (like the British) have been studied, the Irish are not differentiated from those born in Britain. Furthermore, it may be that because the Irish in Toronto appeared to have assimilated into the dominant British or Canadian culture, multicultural historians may have felt that other groups would provide more interesting histories. It is clear today, however, that the Irish have not been completely assimilated and therefore a close look at the formative period of their most recent establishment in this city is in order. 1

To explain why a cohesive and comprehensive Irish community did not develop during the 1950's, several factors will be considered. The first, and most obvious, being the fact that Toronto was a Protestant city dominated by the pro-British Orange Order during this decade. The Orange Order had its roots in Ireland's Protestant community and its Canadian counterpart continued to be influenced by the Irish organization throughout the 1950's. Therefore, a brief discussion of conditions in Ireland, especially Northern Ireland, will be seen as relevant in terms of shaping the attitudes of those who emigrated from that country to this one. Canadian immigration policy, inasmuch as it maintained the preference for British and Irish immigrants will be seen as the third contributing factor in keeping Toronto Protestant and British. Fourthly, the history of Orange dominance of Toronto will be considered briefly inasmuch as it contributed to the persistence of this pattern in the 1950's. Finally, the factors that worked towards the assimilation of Irish immigrants into the Toronto mainstream will be discussed as part of this section.

While all of these factors account for the lack of a visible Irish community during this time, there were developments that occurred during the 1950's which made it possible for the Irish community to blossom in the decades which followed. The first of these was the decline of a British Protestant monoculture and the corresponding rise of a multicultural, multireligious population in the city. The second was the development of a new spirit of tolerance and anti-discrimination near the end of the decade which further contributed to the decline of British, Protestant, and Orange culture in Toronto.

But before we look at the Irish who came to Toronto in the years following the Second World War, it would be beneficial to briefly discuss some of the conditions prevalent in Ireland at that time. It is important to do so because these conditions determined, to a large extent, attitudes and practices of those that would decide to come to Canada. The most important feature of the Island of Ireland then, as now, was the division of the country into two states - an independent twenty-six county republic and a six county state which had a large measure of local autonomy, but was legally and politically part of Britain. Partition of Ireland, instituted in 1921, created two different countries on the same island, and consequently, a person who grew up in the Republic would have had a very different experience than someone from Northern Ireland. William Brogan, a carpenter who was born and reared in Dublin, explains: "Dublin and Belfast are only 103 miles apart, but they may just as well have been a million miles apart since we knew nothing of what was going on up there". 2 It truly was a different world those who lived in the overwhelmingly Catholic Republic of Ireland. Their war of independence had been fought decades before and although there was considerable support integrating the North into a thirty-two county republic, most people's lives, like Mr. Brogan's, were not affected by British rule in the six counties.

In Northern Ireland, the divisions of the island were manifested most strongly. Approximately two-thirds were of a loyalist background (and predominantly Protestant), while a minority of one-third were nationalist (and predominantly Catholic). Indeed, the state had been carved out of the original nine counties of Ulster to ensure that a national minority (the loyalists) would be transformed into a permanent majority within their new state. As if this was not enough to ensure loyalist hegemony in Northern Ireland, gerrymandering of constituency boundaries and the denial of votes by the practice of discrimination in housing (only householders could vote) were both common ways to maintain loyalist political power. Another well-documented practice was discrimination in employment whereby nationalists were either excluded from working
altogether or relegated to the poorly paid, unskilled positions. Both Rita and Seán Adams, two working-class nationalist residents of Belfast in the early 1950s, remember seeing advertisements for jobs in the Belfast Telegraph that read "Protestants Only". 3 This discrimination is not all that surprising when one considers the following statement made by Sir Basil Brooke (Prime Minister of Northern Ireland from 1943 to 1963):

There are a great number of Protestants and Orangemen who employ Roman Catholics.
I feel I can speak freely on this subject as I have not a Roman Catholic about my own
place. ...I would appeal to Loyalists, therefore, wherever possible, to employ good
Protestant lads and lassies. 4

Another former Prime Minister of the six counties, Lord Craigavon, declared in 1934

I have always said I am an Orangeman first and a politician and member of this
parliament afterwards ... all I boast is that we are a Protestant parliament and a
Protestant state. 5

The segregation of streets and neighbourhoods in the cities and of towns in the rural areas made this apartheid system complete. Loyalists knew that they were a minority in Ireland, virtually restricted to the northeast corner of the island, and felt that they had to retain firm political and economic control of the six counties in order to stay afloat in a sea of Roman Catholic Irish nationalists. Maintaining the connection with Britain was the best way to ensure their continued rule in Northern Ireland, and so loyalists were aggressively and fervently pro-British. The partition of Ireland, then, perpetuated the siege mentality and Orange ideology among those Protestants who felt threatened by a united Ireland. When they immigrated to Canada the local Orange Lodges were infused with new blood (fervently loyal to the British Crown) and thereby strengthened.

Canadian immigration policy itself had a role in augmenting the numbers of Canadians loyal to the British Crown. Following the Second World War, as Canada began to openly seek immigrants, Irish people from both traditions found themselves being recruited by Canadian Immigration department officials. Many of them did not know that it was Canadian government policy to favour immigrants from Britain and Ireland. This post-Second World War policy was first articulated by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in a speech to the Canadian Parliament in 1947. In his address he outlined the principles that were to form the basis of Canadian immigration practices for the decade to follow. He said,

The policy of this government is to foster the growth of the population of Canada by
the encouragement of immigration. The government will seek by legislation, regulation
and vigorous administration, to ensure the careful selection and permanent settlement of
such numbers of immigrants as can be advantageously absorbed in our national economy. 6

In this statement the major features of Canadian policy were outlined including the assumption that Canada needed immigrants for population growth and economic development, but that the country's intake would be related to its absorptive capacity and there would be "careful selection". Mackenzie King went on to specify how potential immigrants were to be selected. He did this by reaffirming an order in council (P.C. 695) of March 1931 which had established British subjects (including Irish citizens) as first preference immigrants, followed by citizens of the United States, certain relatives of residents of Canada, and lastly, agriculturalists with sufficient means to farm in Canada. 7

By 1950, when Canada created its first Department of Citizenship and Immigration, the need for labour in Canada and the availability of European immigrants from outside Britain and Ireland prompted the St. Laurent administration to include all Europeans as desirable immigrants. J.W. Pickersgill, the Minister of Immigration from 1954 to 1957 justified (in 1955) this racist immigration policy in this way:

We try to select as immigrants those who will have to change their. ways the least in
order, to adapt themselves to Canadian life and to contribute to the development of the
Canadian nation. This is why entry into Canada is virtually free to citizens of the United
Kingdom, the United States, and France so long as they have good health and good
characters. That is why deliberate preference is shown -For immigrants from countries
with political and social institutions similar to our own. 8

Because of this fear of people who had different political and social institutions from the Canadian model, the British, Scottish, Welsh and Irish were always most strongly recruited. This was especially true whenever the proportion of these preferred immigrants showed signs of falling in relation to persons from other European countries. 9

Rita Adams, from Belfast, remembers that the Canadian immigration authorities held slide shows in public libraries about the benefits of immigrating to Canada and had Eaton's and Simpson's catalogues for the local people to look at.10 Miranda Coates, also born in Belfast, recalls that the recruiting campaign also included newspaper advertisements in the Belfast Telegraph.11 Josephine Cromwell, from a farming community of County Armagh, said that in the travel agencies in the town of Portadown films about Canada were shown by Canadian immigration officials.12 There were two fully staffed immigration offices in Ireland - one in Belfast and the other in Dublin. All those interviewed for this paper agreed with the sentiment behind the statement of Miranda Coates that "they told you the streets were lined with gold".13 Furthermore, all agreed that this propaganda drive by the Canadian immigration department was an important determinant in their decisions to immigrate.

Because it was government policy to aggressively recruit Irish and British persons during this period, domestic Canadian conditions, such as the unemployment rate, were often disregarded in order to ensure the continued immigration of this first preference group. Joe Frizzell, a loyalist from rural County Armagh, was a victim of this policy since he was recruited at a time (1957) when a recession was beginning and unemployment was climbing sharpIy. Although he had been trained as a chemist in Ireland, he was forced to take a job scrubbing floors since he was without shelter and without food.14 He found out the hard way that the streets of Toronto were not, in fact, lined with gold. The year 1957 saw massive numbers of emigrants leave the United Kingdom (inclusive of Northern Ireland) following the Suez Crisis and this stretched Canada's absorptive capacity beyond its limits. Several years later the then Minister of Immigration, Pickersgill, said that he knew "damned well that the flow of immigrants was too big for Canada to digest", but he felt if he "tried to stop the flood of British immigrants it would be the finish of the Liberal party in many Anglo-Saxon constituencies."15 Throughout the 1950's, then, Canadian immigration policy attempted to maintain the status quo in terms of the ethnic composition of Canada. In Toronto, this resulted in keeping the city Protestant, Orange, and pro-British since the large majority of immigrants from this first preference category were loyal to this ideology.

In fact some of the strongest Anglo-Saxon constituencies, mentioned by Pickersgill above, were located in the City of Toronto. It was also the Canadian stronghold of the Loyal Orange Lodge of British America. The Orange Order had been founded by Protestants in Northern Ireland in 1795 and first made its appearance in Ontario in the town of Brockville in 1830. It soon spread to Toronto and from 1850 to 1900 established a degree of control in the city somewhat similar to the organization's dominance of Northern Ireland during the 1950's (as mentioned above). Irish (Catholic) workers had to organize themselves into a quasi-secret Irish brotherhood to protect themselves from physical attack during their journey to their workplaces. They were "locked out" of city employment by a "militant, anti-Catholic Orange Lodge".16 The city hosted a maximum of fifty-nine lodges and from 1845 to 1890 twenty of Toronto's twenty-three mayors were members of the Order.17 Irish Catholics, who formed ninety-five per cent of Toronto's Catholic population in 1890, looked to their church in the face of this secular exclusion. The Catholic Church, then, became the centre of their social, religious, educational, and even working, lives (since the construction of churches was often the only work skilled labourers could get).

The thousands of Irish who came to Toronto during the 1950's found that many aspects of this pattern had persisted.18 The extent of the Orange Lodge's political and economic power had certainly diminished by this time, but the philosophy of Orangeism remained virtually unchanged since at least the turn of the century. Indeed, the official newspaper of the Order in Canada (The Sentinel) boasted in 1957 that there had been "no change in the message The Sentinel has sent out to the people of Canada for over four score years".19 That message had been, and continued to be throughout the 1950's, a contradictory one. An editorial in a 1959 edition of the Toronto Telegram (a paper known for its pro-Orange bias) read as follows:

They [speakers at the Orange march] declared against intolerance and pledged themselves
"to aid and defend all loyal subjects of every religious persuasion in the enjoyment of
their constitutional rights ... the Order's purpose is the preservation of civil and religious
liberty for all time for all people ... It is their rededication to their ancient watchword -
equal rights to all and special privileges for none. 20

In one sense the organization's actions were consistent with these altruistic goals. This was in their work in benevolent associations albeit exclusively Protestant benevolent associations. From 1921 to the present day the Orange lodge has operated The Loyal True Blue and Orange Home for children. Women members were active in the Ladies" True Blue Association which was formed "to advance the principles of the Loyal Orange Association and to render assistance to its members in distress (the order has a sick benefit fund)".21 The Order also administered the Orange Insurance life insurance company (for members only, of course) and worked closely with other groups where there was overlapping membership but no official connection (for example, the Sons and Daughters of Ireland Protestant Association and the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society).

All these activities were designed and operated exclusively for the Protestant community and this is about as far as their rhetoric regarding equal rights and liberty went. The Toronto city council, contrary to the Order's philosophy of "privilege for none", was controlled and dominated by the Orange Lodge. Tony O'Donohue, a Catholic and presently a Toronto city councillor, came to this city in 1956 from a small town in County Clare. He comments,

At that time you couldn't get anywhere unless you were associated or belonged to the
Orange Lodge. All members of city council, and the mayors, and people who were
involved in any position at all in city life had to be members of the Orange Lodge. And
when I came on the scene I was reminded several times by some people that I met in the
system that I was different.22

Although there were, in fact, some Catholics on city council or hired by the council during the 1950's, the domination of Orange Lodge members was complete. The following list of members who participated in the 1956 Orange parade aptly illustrates the point.

• Alderman William C. Davidson.
• Alderman William Dennison.
• William Campbell, former confidential messenger to Ontario premiers and cabinets.
• Fred C. Hamilton, executive assistant to the mayor.
• Trustee Gordon F. Ferguson.
• John McMeehan, Toronto Hydro vice-chairman and chairman of the Toronto East General Hospital Board of Governors.
• William Bradley, civic superintendent of fuel inspection.
• John V. Marks of the city works department and Past District Master (Orange Lodge).

Orange control of city hall in turn led to special privileges, such as jobs with the municipality, being doled out to members of the group. Joe Frizzell, mentioned above, was a member of the Orange Lodge in his native County Armagh, but had not joined a local branch when he immigrated to Canada. Being a newcomer to Toronto he did not know what to say when he was asked if he was a member of "The Order" as he applied for a job with the Toronto Fire Department. He replied, "What order?", and did not get the job. On another occasion, after securing employment with the Toronto Transit Commission as a streetcar operator, he was being directed by an inspector who had the option of short-turning his route or sending him into very heavy traffic. His superior, before deciding, asked him "Are you a member of the Order?". Joe, feeling that his membership or non-membership certainly had nothing to do with public transit, feigned ignorance and replied "What Order?". That was all the information that the inspector required to make his decision.23

Even Leslie Saunders, the mayor of Toronto from 1957 to 1960, put the Order first over public duty, or at least he claimed to do so in a speech delivered at a ceremony where he became Brand Master and Sovereign of the Loyal Orange Lodge of British America in 1957. The Sentinel highlighted the main points of his address:

[He] stated that the past forty years of his life had been wrapped up in the Orange
Association and he thought he could correctly say he had put its principles and welfare
before his position, business, and public office. He did not believe in a superiority of
blood, but he did of faith...24

Saunders also declared on another occasion that it "was certainly no crime to be a Protestant in the Protestant city of Toronto".25 The connection between the Orange Order in Toronto and in Ireland is particularly clear here as Saunder's statements are virtual repeats of Lord Craigavon's famous declarations quoted above.

Yet, calling Toronto a Protestant city in the 1950's was not an exaggeration. Tony O'Donohue, remembers being struck by the Puritanical feel to the city at that time. He recalls that it was impossible to go out for a beer or see a film on Sundays. Even the newspapers did not put out a Sunday edition. The Catholic Church, however, was still the focal point for Toronto's Irish Catholic population as it had been for decades.
Dances were organized by various parishes and these provided occasions for the Irish to get together and socialize. The church had, of course, organized a separate education system and Catholic children could go from primary school to university within this structure. There were also Catholic benevolent organizations like the St. Vincent de Paul Society and private agencies such as the Catholic Immigration Bureau. But these services provided by the Church were not specifically Irish as much as they were Catholic. Earlier in the century most Toronto Catholics were Irish, but as other Europeans immigrated to the city, the proportion of Irish decreased accordingly. This is reflected in the evolution of the Catholic press in Toronto. Up until 1901, the local paper for Catholics was the Irish Canadian, but after this date it merged with the Catholic Weekly to form the Catholic Register. This latter publication, as the name indicates, was not really an Irish paper. By the 1950's any role that it might have played as an Irish ethnic newspaper- had disappeared. 26

This was the situation that the Irish immigrant discovered when s/he arrived in Toronto during the middle of this century. Those that were Catholic, or nationalist, found themselves in an Orange city. This was nothing new for immigrants who had emigrated from Northern Ireland, but for those, like William Brogan from Dublin, it was a shock to experience anti-Catholic bigotry for the first time in their lives.27 Faced with a total lack of an Irish community in this city, the Church functioned as the main, if not the only, institution that brought them together. By contrast, those that came from a Protestant, or loyalist, tradition found a whole array of organizations with the Orange Order at the centre. It was like a modern version of the old Family Compact and even those who did not agree with the organization's ideology or practices would have discovered, as Joe Frizzell had, that there were some very real benefits in being a member. This is not to say that all Protestant Irish immigrants joined the Order; indeed, many had nothing to do with the Lodge in either Ireland or Canada. Of significance here, however, is that for Irish Protestants interested in being part of an organization where they could be with folk from the old country, the Orange Lodge and its affiliates were their only choices. Furthermore, the Order could hardly be called an "Irish" organization since its members looked upon themselves as "British subjects of Ulster stock", to use the words of Joe Frizzell, and not as Irish at all.28 Among their Canadian campaigns in the 1950's were the retention of the Union Jack and God Save the Queen as Canada's national flag and anthem respectively, and to keep the Queen's likeness on Canadian postage stamps. It was somewhat ironical that the Orange Order was the only "Irish'' organization active in the city during this decade.

The Irish nationalist population of Toronto, on the other hand, was feeling the effects of strong assimilationist pressures, and these, combined with the cultural domination of the British, Protestant monolith, ensured that an Irish community did not develop. The pressures to assimilate were not something of which Irish-Canadians of a nationalist background were consciously aware; people did not assess the degree to which they were becoming Canadianized or to which they were losing their cultural identity. Yet, it was happening to a considerable degree and one of the main reasons for it was that these immigrants spoke the same language as the dominant culture group. This made it far easier for the Irish to blend in with the indigenous population and to intermarry. It also accounts for the fact, to a large degree, that Irish immigrants were not concentrated in one area of the city as were other immigrants whose first language was not English.

It appears that most Irish immigrants rented a room in someone else's home when they first arrived in the city and this contributed to their dispersal and absorption in the general population. One of the small ironies of this situation is evident in the experience of Seán and Rita Adams - who came from a city (Belfast) where working class Catholics and Protestants lived their entire lives in segregated neighbourhoods - found themselves boarding with a Belfast Protestant family upon their arrival in Toronto.29 The fact that this would have only rarely happened in Belfast demonstrates that, for both Protestants and Catholics, there were certain adjustments and modifications which had to be made in their new lives away from their home country. The mixing of Irish people from different social-economic classes was also common in Toronto. Miranda Coates came from a solidly middle class Protestant area of Belfast where even the accent was noticeably different from that spoken in working class neighbourhoods. But when she moved to Toronto, she initially settled on a small street in east Toronto - the same street to which Rita and Seán Adams were later to move.30

Irish immigrants, then, from loyalist and nationalist traditions, and from middle class and working class families had one thing in common in their new country and that was they were all struggling to survive and to become established. William Brogan, who is presently very active in Toronto's Irish community as President of the County Dublin Association and member of the Rover Club, said that the Irish community was not active in the 1950's because they were "too busy struggling to survive".31 But so were other groups of immigrants who, in contrast, came together as a community to help each other. One of the best examples being the Irish Protestant community. So, the day to day struggle and the assimilation pressures on Irish Catholic immigrants do not in themselves account for the absence of an organized Irish community in Toronto at this time. Obviously the key difference between the Protestant and Catholic experiences in terms of organizing themselves in Toronto was the very nature of the city itself. As outlined in detail above, Toronto was an Orange, Protestant city historically, and this pattern persisted because of conditions in Ireland itself, because of Canadian immigration policy, and because of the very strength and resiliency of the Orange Order.

All these factors encouraged integration of Irish immigrants into the mainstream culture during the 1950's, but other developments were beginning to emerge causing the first cracks to appear in the Orange monolith. These cracks would grow larger as the years passed and other cultures and ethnic communities would be able to emerge, including the Irish community. As mentioned above, the Orange Order was most powerful in Toronto in the second half of the last century and its power had been diminishing since that time. Although it still dominated municipal politics in the 1950's the trend of its declining influence continued throughout this decade. In fact, this process was speeded up by several developments that were beyond the control of the local Orange Order and its supporters.

Following the Second World War Canada was beginning to assert its independence (from Britain) as a result of a maturing process earned through the experience of the War and also as part of Britain's declining power in many of its traditional spheres of influence. This moving away from Britain, although resisted by those of the "Loyal True Blue'' ideology, was part of the Canadian development into nationhood and there was little these traditionalists could do to stop it. In 1946, with the passing of the Canadian Citizenship Act, this country established separate citizenship from Britain for the first time. In the following year the Governor-General was given the privileges of the British Crown in Canada and in 1949 the highest court in the judicial system became a Canadian one. Canadian foreign relations and foreign policy were also becoming more and more independent from the direction of Britain.

As part of these changes, Canada's immigration policies were also moving in new directions. As discussed above, in 1950 the doors were opened up for immigrants from European countries other than Britain and Ireland. The effects of this policy change were felt most strongly in Toronto where the numbers of people of "British" (that is, English, Scotch, Welsh, and Irish) origin fell from seventy per cent in 1951 to only forty per cent by 1960.32 The city saw 385, 500 immigrants arrive from 1951 to 1960 and of these one-third came from "Britain", over one-fifth from Italy, and over one-tenth from Germany. There were also significant numbers of Dutch, Poles, Hungarians, and Greeks entering the city during the decade. In addition, there were much smaller numbers of people from India, Pakistan, Ceylon, and other countries entering Canada at this time.

As the decade progressed, the character of the city began to change accordingly. Toronto's present-day multicultural and multireligious society was beginning to emerge, and, of course, the city's British, Protestant character was in decline. In addition to other changes that resulted from the new ethnic composition of Toronto, the Catholic population of the city greatly increased, in large part due to the great number of Italian immigrants. Therefore, the two solid pillars of Orangeism in Toronto - Britishness and Protestantism - were both beginning to crumble.

As it did so, an integral part of Orange ideology - British/Protestant superiority and privilege - also began to be seriously challenged. Increasingly, the racist nature of Canadian immigration policy began to be criticized and challenged both from within Canada and internationally. Canada's membership in the Commonwealth of Nations, for example, compelled it to accept a quota of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. As the Minister of Immigration at the time stated:

You know as well as I do, that we do not have an office in India for the purpose of
getting immigrants, for the sake of increasing the population of Canada. We agreed
upon this quota as a gesture for the improvement of commonwealth relations.33

At the same time as this moral pressure was being exerted on Canada internationally, there was legislative pressure on the city of Toronto to open its doors to those of non-British origin. In 1951 the Ontario government passed the Fair Employment Practices Act which prohibited job discrimination on the grounds of race or creed. Predictably, there was opposition from Leslie Saunders (a controller at city hall at this time) who proclaimed, "This is a very loyal British city and the people will not readily subscribe to the change as suggested in the new statute".34 Another Orangeman, Conservative M.P. (1947 to 1951) R. Hardy Small declared,

Orangeism does not believe in the need for anti-discrimination laws. ...We want to find
a place for displaced persons from Europe, but let us be careful we do not displace our
own sons and daughters from their position of being able to earn a living.35

But there was little the leaders of the "loyal British city" could do to stop broader developments such as the growth of Canadian independence from Britain, the rise of multicultural immigration, and with it, a new spirit of tolerance and anti-discrimination. They could however delay the impact of these developments on their city. Indeed, they did so quite successfully throughout the 1950's - one of the results being that an Irish community did not or could not develop - but they could not delay the inevitable indefinitely. In the years following the 1950"s, as these new trends began to change the very nature of Orange Toronto and the Order's cultural, political and economic influence began to wane, room began to appear for other ethnic groups to participate more fully in the life of the city. Toronto's Irish community, given this breathing space, has been able to grow into one of the most active and prominent groups in the city today.


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1. A note on the sources: since there have not been any studies specifically on this topic, much of the research for this paper consists of oral interviews. A balance between women and men, nationalists and loyalists, poor and rich, city-dwellers and farm-dwellers, and former inhabitants of the Republic of Ireland and of Northern Ireland has been attempted. The information obtained through the interviews has been supplemented with material from newspapers, reports, and pamphlets produced in the 1950's and by consulting secondary sources (such as general studies of post-war immigration to Canada).

2. Interview with the author on March 23, 1990.

3. Interviews with the author on February 12, 1990 and February 14, 1990 respectively.

4. Liam de Paor, Divided Ulster (Middlesex, England: Penguin Books Ltd., 1972), pp. 105-106.

5. Ibid,, p. 105.

6. From House of Commons Debates as quoted in Freda Hawkins, Canada and Immigration: Public Policy and Public Concern (Montreal and London: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1972), p. 91.

7. From House of Commons Debates as quoted in Howard Palmer,
ed., Immigration and the Rise of Multiculturalism (Toronto:
Copp Clark Publishing, 1975), p. 59.

8. As quoted in Anthony H. Richmond, Post-War Immigrants in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970), p. 3.

9. Ibid., p. 4.

10. Interview with the author on February 12, 1990.

11. Interview with the author on March 16, 1990.

12. Interview with the author on February 17, 1990.

13. Interview with the author on March 16, 1990.

14. Interview with the author on February 18, 1990.

15. As quoted in Richmond, op. cit., pp. 14-15.

16. As quoted in Murray W. Nicholson, "The Other Toronto: Irish Catholics in a Victorian City, 1850-1900", Polyphony: The Bulletin of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario (Toronto: Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring/Summer 1984), p. 22.

17. Howard Goldenthal, "Gunrunners, Fundraisers and Keepers of the Orange Faith" Toronto Life (Toronto: Toronto Life Publishing Co., Vol. 23, No. 8, May 1989), P. 39.

18. The precise number of Irish immigrants to Toronto in the 1950's could not be ascertained. However, the Department of Manpower and Immigration reports the following number of Irish entering Canada:
from the Republic of Ireland, 1951-1957 14,392 and 1958-1962 3,707; from Northern Ireland, 1951-1957 20,319 and 1958-1962 4,784. The grand total from Ireland (1951-1962) is therefore 43,202. Since half of all immigrants who came to Canada during the 1950's settled in Ontario and one-quarter in Toronto, it is safe to assume that at least this fraction (one quarter) of Irish came to Toronto, and, in fact, it is probably over this mark.

19. As quoted in The Sentinel, October 1957, Vol. 82, No. 1, P. 16.

20. As quoted in the Toronto Telegram, July 11, 1959, editorial page.

21. As quoted in The Sentinel, January 5, 1950.

22. Interview with the author on April 14, 1990.

23. Interview with the author on February 18, 1990.

24. The Sentinel, November 1957, Vol. 82, No. 2, p. 4.

25. The Globe and Mail, July 10, 1954, p. 1.

26. Articles in the paper during this time were mainly centred on the international Catholic community; features on or about events in Toronto appeared only occasionally.

27. Interview with the author on March 23, 1990. Mr. Brogan said that it was a common experience for Catholics to experience verbal abuse or insults around the twelfth of July during the years of the 1950's, although Rita Adams stated that she did not encounter any such bigotry.

28. Interview with the author on February 18, 1990.

29. Rita Adams' interview with the author on February 12, 1990.

30. Miranda Coates' interview with the author on March 16, 1990.

31. Interview with the author on March 23, 1990.

32. These facts and statistice regarding the immigration of people of various ethnic origins to Toronto have been taken, from Toronto: City of Toronto Planning Board, A Report on the Ethnic Origins of the Population of Toronto, 1960 (Toronto: September 12, 1961), p. 3.

33. Hawkins, op. cit., p. 101.

34. The Globe and Mail, July 12, 1951, p. 1.

35. The Globe and Mail , July 13 1951, p. 1.