This 2023 remount of CHINATOWN THE BEST with Talking Walls features a selection of work from the 2022 project (details under CTB 2022 tab of the website!). We have selected 12 members of our community to embody our local history, arts and activism through the last decades of Toronto's Downtown Chinatown.
If you walk about 15 minutes, just past the south-west corner of U of T Campus, you will find Toronto’s Downtown Chinatown. It has been a place where generations of students, new immigrants, and lower-income folks on tight budgets have managed to sustain themselves for food, medicine, and household items.
Chinatown holds a community significance that neighborhood planners dream of: communal food and culture, gathering spaces, unique architectural elements. It is an urban space that functions like a village, with a rich history of collective care: a space for elders, newcomers, and marginalized folks to gather.
This 2023 remount of CTB includes additional collage work featuring posters from Friends of Chinatown (FOCT), a grassroots organization currently fighting for community-controlled affordable housing, racial justice, and economic justice in Toronto’s downtown Chinatown.
Chinatown history around the world is the story of repeated displacement and erasure - in Toronto, the original Chinatown burned down in the Great Toronto Fire of 1904, and the city took the opportunity to expropriate the land into what is now Union Station. Chinatown was displaced a second time in the 1950s to become City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square. Community organizers and activists again and again have risen up, and the fight continues today with the housing crisis, and condo developers eager to wipe out Chinatown in the name of speculative profit.
2023 also marks the 100-year anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, a devastating anti-immigration legislation that tore families apart in the name of “White Canada Forever.”
Long Time No See’s collective work seeks to connect the Chinatown community across generations, remind us all that our current struggle is not a new one, and we have much to learn from one another. Through communal art creation, we hold space for us all to gather and share our stories - of family, of hardship, of resilience, and our hopes for the future.
With this exhibition and programming, we invite you to eat, drink, and learn, and dive deeply into our stories: of folks working in Chinatown today and of ghosts that inspired our renowned authors. Study the road maps to survival left by our ancestors, and the many waves and generations of activism and solidarity for social justice. We invite you to occupy space, engage in activities and gatherings, and to be a part of sustaining and evolving Chinatown.
A huge thank you to our community partners and additional contributors: Friends of Chinatown, Toronto Chinatown Land Trust, Gillian Xu, Tyne Vainio, Liz Tsui, Victoria Liao, and the Hart House Programing Team including: Day Milman, Saša Rajšić, Shalon T. Webber-Heffernan, and Panni Ajtony
Click here for Exhibit info and programming dates!