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EXHIBITS / Derailed / Historical Context

Derailed

Historical Context


The above monologue is a dramatic re-imagining of the Immigration Act of 1910 as a living person. Performed by Daniel Jelani Ellis.

The heyday for rail passenger travel was the first six decades of the 1900s. This was a time of immense change especially in the decades leading up to World War II. The North American continent was opening up for travel and business. On the northern tip, Canada continued to be knitted into a country by the railways — known by many as the famed ribbon of steel. Ontario was becoming the economic powerhouse of Canadian confederation. Toronto was also emerging as the financial capital of the country. When opened in 1927, Toronto Union Station quickly became the hub for political and financial influence. By the 1950s, the railways were making Ontario and the rest of Canada into what is called an affluent society, noted for its prosperity.

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