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Riot at Christie Pits

Title

Riot at Christie Pits

Subject

Canada
Sports
history
human rights
riots
anti-Semitism

Description

This is the only known photograph of the riots at Christie Pits in Toronto, 1933. Here is a description of the event provided by The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, online: https://humanrights.ca/riot-christie-pits 

"
On the night of August 16, 1933, after a softball game at Toronto’s Christie Pits Park, a gang of young men unfurled a white banner. On it was a black swastika, symbolic of Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews. It was directed at a team of mostly Jewish teens from Toronto’s Harbord Playground. Anti-Semitism had been mounting in Toronto, then an overwhelmingly British, Protestant city. Groups called “swastika clubs” had formed to intimidate Jews. The banner sparked a riot. Youth from Italian and Ukrainian backgrounds rallied to the Jewish side. The six-hour brawl marked a turning point for resistance to anti-Semitism. It led to a Toronto ban on the swastika."

Description of the Toronto Public Archives record, online: http://gencat4.eloquent-systems.com/webcat/request/Action?ClientSession=-16c19056:15abbf4ebfb:-7c6a&UniqueID=6000_1580_11104_4&TemplateProcessID=6000_1580_11104&PromptID=&ParamID=&CMD_(SearchRequest)[0]=&ProcessID=&1POI31_240=-KEY_46341&2POI1_51345=30791&Logic=1%20AND%202


Item is an image showing the riot that took place at Christie Pits (Willowvale Park) on August 16, 1933. The riot, which lasted six hours, broke out after a quarter-final baseball game at Christie Pits between two local clubs: Harbord Playground, predominantly Jewish, and St. Peter's, a baseball team sponsored by a church at Bathurst and Bloor streets. The night of the riot was the second game between Harbord and St. Peter's. Two nights earlier, at the first game of the series, a swastika had been displayed. After the final out of the second game, Pit Gang members displayed a blanket with a large swastika painted on it. A number of Jewish boys and young men who had heard about the previous Swastika incident rushed the Swastika sign to destroy it. Supporters of both sides (including Italians who supported the Jews) from the surrounding area joined in, and a fight started. No one was killed in the riot.

The riot revealed the xenophobic attitudes toward Jews and other non-Anglo immigrants among Anglo Canadians. Jews represented the largest minority in Toronto in 1933 and were thus a target of xenophobic residents. In August 2008, a Heritage Toronto plaque was presented to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the riot.

Creator

Photographer: Unknown

Publisher

Toronto Archives

Date

August 16, 1933

Rights

Public Domain
Credit: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 30791

Relation

"Riot at Christie Pits", The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, online: https://humanrights.ca/riot-christie-pits

Format

image file/jpeg

Language

English

Type

Photograph

Identifier

City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 30791

Original Format

Photograph

Files

riot-at-christie-pits-480.jpg

Citation

Photographer: Unknown, “Riot at Christie Pits,” Exhibits, accessed May 28, 2022, https://exhibits.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/2543.