About Us

Welcome to “Pathways to Toronto”. This website was designed to explore and study migration patterns that connect Toronto to other parts of the country, and the world through the stories of migrants who lived within Toronto's borders for a period in their lives. These individuals represent the different nationalities, races, and genders, that have settled or started their Canadian lives in Toronto. Our goal was to engage and encourage the visitors of this site to a discussion of the meaning of migration across time and space.

We were a group of senior students enrolled in a digital history course at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Together with our professor, Dr. Donna Gabaccia, we explored the variety of ways in which historians use digital methods to study, interpret and represent the past. Using a variety of digital tools and techniques, we analyzed, visualized, and represented the movement of people to Toronto across two centuries. We have designed and produced a range of materials, culminating in an online exhibit with the title “Pathways to Toronto.”

The Team

Jabril Abdi - History Major
The migrant that I chose emigrated to Toronto from Yugoslavia at the age of 8 in 1993. The reason that his family moved to Canada was because at the time Canada was the only country that would accept them. My informants family moved almost directly from Belgrade to Toronto, with short stops in Romania and Italy.

Jenissa Asirvatham - History Major
The migrant I have chosen is a man named John Gwynn Swain. He migrated from Edinburgh, Scotland to Toronto in 1867. I chose him because I found his time in Toronto rather interesting - He came to Toronto for the purpose of seeking employment, and also seeking adventure.

Shivani Desai - History and Psychology Major
I have chosen to tell my father's journey. I chose him because his story highlights the key issues many migrants faced in Canada during this time. These issues include employment barriers, post 9/11 racism, and housing discrimination.

Marsaydees Ferrell - History Specialist
I have chosen to tell my great-grandmother's journey. My great-grandmother migrated from Jamaica to Toronto with her husband in 1972. I chose my great-grandmother because her story highlights what life was like for many Jamaican Immigrants settling in Toronto during the 1970s.

Peter Gorski - History and International Development Studies Major
I chose my mother for my pathway story. I was born less than two years after my parents immigrated to Toronto from Poland and therefore I've watched them become progressively more comfortable living in Canadian society. There were big parts of their immigration story to which I was not privy to so I decided that this could be a good way to get a detailed view of their journey. It is an important event for me because their relocation was also an extremely important event in the lives of my parents.

Gutana Guysa - History and Public Policy Major
My pathways story examines the life and early travels of Thornton Blackburn, a Black refugee who made his way to Toronto from Louisville, Kentucky as a runaway slave. Hardly a household name, but Blackburn's migration to the city, and his travels along the way, has made him an important figure in both the history of American slavery, and of Black life in Victorian Era Toronto.

Kaitlin Lalljee – History Major
The migrant I chose to write about was Susannah Moodie. I chose her because she came to Canada in 1832 and I am interested in learning about Toronto, a place I have called home my whole life, from new perspectives. Her story shows what life was like for some migrants, and their struggles to establish themselves in a new country in 19th century Canada.

Adley Lobo - History Specialist
My pathway story follows the life of a German-born migrant who lived through a major part of the 20th century--a time of immense changes in every aspect of life. My pathway story shares one migrant’s thoughts on adapting to a changing world.

Gregory Naidopoulos - History and Philosophy Major
I have chosen to tell the story of my Grandmother's journey. I chose her because her story highlights key experiences of many immigrants during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her story examines how living as a women affected choices in Canada at the time.

Alysha Navarro - History and English Major
I have chosen to tell the story of my mother's journey to Toronto. I chose her story because I was interested in learning about my roots and the struggles that many Filipino immigrants faced in coming to Canada in a more recent time. My intention was to examine the motivations for emigration, and to gain a broader perspective on what it means to be a Filipino in the larger context of the world.

Tommy Paparizos – History Major
I have always been interested in my father's pathway story and his integration within the city of Toronto. Growing up, I was comfortable with the Greek traditions that he and my grandparents brought over from the small village of Kastoria. Creating a timeline and mapping their movement here, understanding the motives and reasoning behind the journey was something that I wanted to share. My father’s seamless adaptation to the new environment was possible because a developed Greek community already existed in Toronto, making his story different from others.

Joseph Roccasalva – History Major
The migrant I chose was my father. I chose him because I was very interested in learning more about his pathway story. My intention was to learn in a lot more detail about the motivations of my father's family and how they adapted to Toronto.

Jeremy Sagan – History Major
I have chosen to tell the story of my paternal Grandfather. There's always been a cloudiness in family stories about his history prior to, during, and after World War II. Through research I've been able to find out a lot about his military and personal histories and why he ended up in Toronto. My father came here with the rest of his family at a young age so even those early years were a little hazy. Exploring an immigration story, one that so many people in Canada share, as well as showing how a family can go from having nothing to being middle class was the inspiration for my choice. Hopefully others can relate to his story and find it as enthralling as I do.

Gerrit Steinbach - History and Computer Science Major
My pathway story examines the life of a woman and her struggle to create a safe migration environment for immigrants from Europe. She settled in Toronto for a very brief period of time in order to share her own story with the mayor, and gain support in her immense task. Her story has not been elaborated on much, and being a German myself I took a particular interest in her narrative.

If you have further questions about this site, please contact the Digital Scholarship Unit at University of Toronto Scarborough Library at digitalscholarship [at] utsc [dot] utoronto [dot] ca. Thank you!