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Fought for the preservation of Toronto’s first Chinatown. Read more about her in this short story on Wattpad.

Jean at her fruit store, age 17
“Jean herself had been working full time since she was
twelve to help her family out, and at only seventeen,
had moved to Toronto, to The Ward, to start her first
business, Wong Brothers fruit store.”
Jean in Delegation to Ottawa, 1957
“Mr. Diefenbaker sat at the head of the table, between Jean and labour activist Wong Foon
Sien of British Columbia, who read from the brief they’d prepared. After a short time,
Prime Minister Diefenbaker leaned over to Jean and explained he was hard of hearing
in one ear, the one next to Foon Sien. Jean had read the brief so many times her copy was
near worn through, and she knew the words by heart, whispering them to herself as they
were read aloud to the room. So when Mr. Diefenbaker asked what was said, she
explained it all to him.” (A JEAN LUMB STORY 7)
Jean in front of Chow Chop Suey House, 1967
“Jean walked the same road, up Elizabeth Street towards Kwong
Chow Chop Suey House, a restaurant she and her husband
had started, that had since hosted many celebrities and politicians,
including the Prime Minister himself.” (A JEAN LUMB STORY 6)
Jean Lumb family portrait, 1939
“Seeing so many families kept apart was hard for Jean, having come from a large
and close family herself—born the middle of twelve children in Nanaimo, on
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, her given name, Wong Toy Jin.There was
never a dull moment around her house, always someone to play with, work to be
done.” (A JEAN LUMB STORY 3)



Young Jewish social worker who fought for social justice. Read more about her in this short story on Wattpad.

Elizabeth Neufeld, first CNH Head Worker, 1910
“The eight of us women who worked and volunteered at
CNH were headed out, dressed in our Sunday bests to
canvass the surrounding communities for donations.
Elizabeth Neufeld, the newly hired Headworker of CNH,
led our march past the last of The Ward’s busy streets
to the rich surrounding neighbourhoods.”
Central Neighbourhood House on 84 Gerrard St West
“Though we’d spend most of our waking hours over at Central Neighbourhood
House, us women workers couldn’t stay there because the top floor was
occupied by two gentlemen and most people felt it wasn’t proper
for unwed ladies to live is the same residence as men.”
McCaul Street in 1913
“Thankfully the organization rented us a house. Myself and Elizabeth,
along with Alice Chown, Misses Gertrude, C.M. Sanborn, Miss E.
Kenny, Miss E.B. Orford, and the visiting Victorian Order nurse—
who’s name I’d forgotten to ask, and after spending the morning
canvassing together, I was too embarrassed to—were to live at
193 McCaul St., a few blocks away from CNH.”




Escaped enslavement through the Underground Railroad. Read more about her in this short story on Wattpad.

A letter from Fanny Ballard to Cecelia Reynolds
““Hm.” She nods. “Words are powerful, child.
They can stir people to anger and action, or
evoke tears and a broken heart. String the right
words together and you can topple an empire.
Move heaven and earth. And that’s exactly what I did.”
“A letter . . .” I say again, this time a little more assuredly.
“Can you write?”
I nod. “And read.”
Miss Lucie’s brows wing up in surprise as well as admiration.
“Well then, I’ll bring you some paper
and a pen. And let’s see what you can
make of them.”” (BLOOD FOR INK 5)
Fanny Thruston was nearly 14 when she was given
Cecelia, 9, as a lady’s maid.

“It had been my responsibility to tend to the
Thruston’s only child, Fanny; to clean up her
toys, and put away her clothes. Clear crumbs off
her table and brush her hair. We both were
children, near the same age, and yet she owned
me. Like a puppy or a shoe. But in the way of
children sometimes we’d laugh and tell jokes or
make up silly stories. We’d play with her dolls—
mostly when her Pa wasn’t around, and
sometimes Miss Fanny would sneak me a sweet
or two from the candy dish.”
Niagara Falls, the Shore & Islands, 1842
“I ran in the middle of the night, sneaking
through the dark hotel to escape in a rowboat
across the moonlit waters of Niagara Falls.
I ran towards the beacon of freedom of the
Canadian border knowing this was my
chance—my only chance—and left them both
behind.” (BLOOD FOR INK 3)


The Cataract House Cecilia escaped to in 1847
“But for the first time since I walked through her front door,
guided by the young man who’d picked me up after I leapt out
of the rowboat to bring me all the way into Toronto—the Ward, as
he called it, I’m seeing Miss Lucie more clearly.”




Widowed Irish woman, mother, and bootlegger. Read more about her in this historical short story on Wattpad.

The Ward, 1925
“Annie stepped out into dirt roads thick with traffic and flowing bodies going about their day.
Not far off, a team of men with horses tilled an open stretch of muddy ground, preparing for a
new build of storefronts after stripping down the ruins of a row of ramshackle cottages that had
burnt down over the winter.” (WOMEN OF THE WARD 3)
The Ward was designated a slum in 1850
“Rent in the Ward was steep. Despite the conditions being often just as deplorable
indoors, as they were without, demand remained so high that landlords never cared enough to
bother with upkeep when some poor soul was desperate enough for a roof over their head,
even if it was slightly collapsed. Or leaking.” (WOMEN OF THE WARD 4)


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