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Past EVENTS / Toronto Stories Live

Toronto Stories Live

An evening of storytelling that explores overlooked, unseen, and forgotten stories in Toronto’s history.

Join Myseum of Toronto for an evening of storytelling that explores overlooked, unseen, and forgotten stories in Toronto’s history.

These fascinating stories will be told by notable Torontonians who have their own special connection to these stories.

The storytelling portion of this event will be followed by an audience Q&A with the storytellers.


Story: Daphne Odjig
Storyteller: Bonnie Devine

During World War II, Daphne Odjig was a young assembly line worker who on the weekends taught herself to draw by studying the paintings at the Art Gallery of Toronto and Eaton’s College Street gallery. Decades later, though entirely self-taught, Odjig received two of Canada’s highest civilian honours – the Governor General’s award in Visual Art and the Order of Canada. Artist and OCAD University associate professor emerita Bonnie Devine will delve into the history and work of Daphne Odjig with a special appearance by Elder Dr. Duke Redbird delivering an original poem inspired by Daphne’s work


Story: Jean Lumb
Storyteller: Arlene Chan

Jean Lumb was a community activist and restaurateur in Toronto’s Chinatown. Known as the unofficial spokesperson for the Chinese community, Jean Lumb played a significant role in shaping Chinese immigration law in Canada and chaired Toronto’s “Save Chinatown” campaign in the late 1960s. Arlene Chan will share her mother’s story, featuring clips from The Spirit of the Dragon, the 2003 documentary directed by Gil Gauvreau.


Story: The Election That Changed Toronto
Storyteller: John Lorinc

The transition from Leslie Saunders to Nathan Phillips was a watershed moment in Toronto politics, a moment when Phillips, the self-professed “mayor of all the people,” replaced Saunders, an outspoken Orangeman. Narrated by author and journalist John Lorinc, this story will set the scene of Toronto’s monumental 1954 mayoral election.


Story: Binational Lesbian Conference
Storyteller: Rebecka Sheffield

The First Annual Binational Lesbian Conference was a key moment in the development of a lesbian feminist movement. For three days in May 1979, women from across Canada and North America gathered to talk about issues of intersectionality, representation, sexuality, and class. Narrated by Rebecka Sheffield this story looks back at the conference and includes short remembrances by conference attendees Robin Tyler and Shelley Robertson.



Bonnie Devine is an installation artist, video maker, curator, writer, and educator. Using cross disciplinary iterations of written, visual, and performative practice, Devine explores issues of land, environment, treaty, history, and narrative. Though formally educated in fine art at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD U) and York University, Devine’s most enduring learning came from her grandparents, who were Anishinaabe trappers on the Canadian Shield in northern Ontario.

Devine’s installation, video, and curatorial projects have been shown in solo and group exhibitions and film festivals across Canada and in the USA, South America, Europe, Russia, and China, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Berlin Film Festival, the National Museum of the American Indian, and Today Art Museum in Beijing. Recent public acknowledgements of Devine’s practice include a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2021, and an Ontario Lieutenant Governor’s Heritage Award and OCAD University’s Distinguished Research and Creative Practice Award in 2019. An Associate Professor Emerita and the Founding Chair of the Indigenous Visual Culture program at OCAD University, Devine maintains an active art practice and serves on several cultural boards and councils in the United States and Canada. She is based in Toronto.

Elder Dr. Duke Redbird is an established Indigenous intellectual, poet, painter, broadcaster, filmmaker and keynote speaker, he brings his breadth of cultural knowledge and artistic practice to the benefit of a global audience.

He works as a multifaceted artist, practicing across a number of disciplines including literature, painting, theatre, cinema and most recently rap poetry. A well-known Canadian broadcaster and television personality, he is in demand as a keynote speaker in corporate, industry, and educational settings. As a poet, essayist and screenwriter, Dr. Redbird has published and performed poetry readings, theatrical productions, video and film, both locally and internationally.

In 2020 the album Refuge was released by the band, Sultans Of String and features the musical version of Elder Redbird’s poem the Power of the Land. Earlier this year Elder Redbird also published, Duke Redbird Poetry.

Since 2014, Dr. Redbird has been the Indigenous Arts Consultant for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and is the Artist in Residence at the Urban Indigenous Education Centre.

Arlene Chan is an author and award-winning Chinatown historian who has written seven books about the history, culture, and traditions of the Chinese in Canada, some shortlisted for the Ontario Speaker’s Book Award, Heritage Toronto Book Award, Silver Birch Award, and Red Cedar Award. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the Toronto Star, Spacing Magazine, Ricepaper, Heritage Matters, and The Canadian Encyclopedia. She devotes her time to researching, writing, and relating her first-hand experiences and family stories as a lecturer and Chinatown tour guide. Her work has been recognized with the Heritage Toronto Special Achievement Award, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award, and TriDelta Woman of Distinction Award.

Arlene is the president of the Jean Lumb Foundation that awards high school students of Chinese heritage from across Canada. She serves as an advisor for Ontario Infrastructure’s Heritage Interpretation Working Group and Toronto Public Library’s Chinese Canadian Archive.

Twitter: @ArleneChan1
FB: Arlene Chan

John Lorinc is a Toronto journalist and editor. He writes about cities, clean energy, politics, business, and local history for various media, including The Globe and Mail and Spacing. John is also the Toronto non-fiction editor for Coach House Books and co-edited The Ward: The Life and Loss of Toronto’s First Immigrant Neighbourhood (2015).

Twitter: @johnlorinc

Rebecka Taves Sheffield is an author, educator, and information professional based in Hamilton, Ontario. She’s a sucker for a good story about 2SLGBTQ+ history, hauntings, and political dramas, especially when these topics collide. She is the author of Documenting Rebellions: A Study of Four Lesbian and Gay Archives in Queer Times (Litwin, 2020), and was part of the award-winning editorial team that produced Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer (Coach House, 2017). Rebecka was the first Executive Director and Archives Manager of the ArQuives (formerly the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives) and was a Senior Policy Advisor for the Archives of Ontario. She is now advising on digital and data policy for Ontario Digital Service. Rebecka trained as an archivist at the University of Toronto’s iSchool and earned a PhD in information studies through the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at University College. She is currently appointed to the faculty at UBC’s iSchool, where she teaches about archival theory and methods. Visit Rebecka online at www.archivalobjects.com.

Twitter: @archivalobjects

Shelley Robertson is a writer, editor and journalism teacher. She worked as a reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, as a story editor for CBC radio and television in Toronto, and at The Toronto Star, where she was a copy editor, assistant national editor, entertainment editor, and finally editor of the Life, Food, Fashion, and Home sections. She later was a partner in the desktop publishing firm Inprint Editorial Services. She taught reporting, copy editing and newsroom management at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism and is now teaching in the Fellowship in Global Journalism at the University of Toronto.

Canadian born and raised, Robin Tyler, was the first ‘out’ lesbian or gay comics on television, recordings and in performance. As well as producing 25 Women’s Music and Comedy festivals, (trans inclusive), Robin produced the Main stages for 3 National LGBTQI Marches on Washington. She and her late wife were the first lesbian couple to sue in the successful marriage equality case in California. As a speaker and Activist, Robin has appeared internationally. There is currently a documentary in Production which should be finished in 2022.

Toronto Stories Live

17 Nov 2021

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EST

Filed under:
Community,Toronto Stories

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