SPACE - Mapping of Black Toronto

Through this CARTO exhibit, I've created an on-going collection of sites with cultural/social significance to the black Caribbean/Canadian community in Metropolitan Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I cover most of the twentieth century, to discover points of rupture through spaces/places of spatial and social domination. Categories of sites ranged from bakeries, groceries, restaurants, meeting spaces, venues, bars, nightclubs, churches, and everything in between.

I created a dataset labelled "Islands in the North", which created four widgets: Black Toronto - names of the points of interest/rupture; City/Town; Category; and Source - where I found the information. Use the widgets to explore, discover, and sort out the collection of spaces/places.

I used open data from the City of Toronto Data Catalogue , which provided this map with the former boundaries of the Metropolitan Toronto Area (Toronto, York, East York, North York, Scarborough, and Etobicoke). You will notice that many black locations are centered in downtown Toronto from the mid to late twentieth century. Later on, as the black Caribbean community grows, the locations are disperse to the outer regions of the city. The Black Canadian/Caribbean business class moves and grows alongside its population. With the addition of the City of Toronto "Cultural Hotspots" data, I looked at the areas of influence from the black spaces within 500 metres. Right away, one can see that the spaces and places created and inhabited by Black Toronto only barely overlap with the spaces and place curated by the municipal government. We can see what the local government considers "culture", and it does not align with these black geographies.

It would be remiss if I did not point out the obvious. This is a preliminary collection of spaces and places significant to members of the black Caribbean-Canadian community. Over time, through crowd-sourcing, oral histories, and more archival research, this collection can continue to grow and be more refined. On the other hand, the black geographies of Toronto and other spaces in the Black Atlantic are complicated. As Katherine McKittrick argues in her article, 'Their Blood Is There, and They Can't Throw It Out': Honouring Black Canadian Geographies"(2002), that the production of space/place involve material and imaginary texts. No matter what, there will be hidden geographies of people, spaces, and places that do not wish to be located. This alternate mapping of Black Toronto lives in the personal knowledge and cartographies of those who live it.