Downtown Yonge Remembers

    This Remembrance day the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area remembers and celebrates the contributions of members of Indigenous, Black and Racialized communities in the First and Second World Wars.

    Veterans of the Number 2 Construction Battalion and their families, Toronto 1920

    When World War One broke out, Black men lined up to enlist in Canada, but were turned away. In response, community activists wrote letters to all levels of government across the country. In 1916, the Canadian Military formed a segregated battalion – the Number 2 Construction Battalion. The Battalion enlisted men from across Canada, including Ontario.  The enlisted men were Black but their officers were white, with the exception of the Battalion chaplain, Dr. Rev. William A. White, the only Black Officer in the Canadian military in the First World War. The Battalion did crucial infrastructure work in France during the war: digging trenches, repairing roads, building railways. This photo shows a reunion of the 2nd Construction Battalion, shown with their families on the steps of the Provincial Legislature in 1920.  City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 411 , Item 86

    Source: City of Toronto Archives

    Troops Return: Sam Morgan, Private Frank Cooper

    Returning soldiers Sam Morgan and Frank Cooper, Toronto, 1943.

    The soldier on the left, Sam Morgan, served Canada in The First and Second World War. 


    City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 83680

    Source: City of Toronto Archives

    William Thomas Jackson, Peter Browning, Elias Elery Jackson

    William Thomas Jackson, Peter Browning, Elias Elery Jackson were Privates in the Number 2 Construction Battalion during the First World War.


    Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society & Black Mecca Museum

    Source: CKBHS.org

    Women’s Ambulance Corps, Vancouver, c. 1944

    In British Columbia, during the Second World War, Chinese-Canadian women supported the war effort by joining the Women’s Ambulance Corps. The women supported Canada’s military on the home front, through nursing, ambulance driving and First Aid. 

    Six Chinese-Canadian women are recorded as joining the Armed Forces in World War 2. Five were Privates in the Women’s Army Corps; one joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.

    Source: Chinese Canadian Military Museum

    Munitions Workers and Nurses

    Munitions workers and nurses, Toronto, c. 1915


    City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244 Item 859

    Source: City of Toronto Archives

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