Riding the Waves: Toronto’s Latin American Community

A group of women march on a city street in daylight. Two of them are holding a red banner with white lettering. The top of the banner is crumpled and much of the text is obscured. The word mujeres can be seen at the top, at the bottom the words Latin American Womyn's Collective can be seen. Above the group is single traffic light hanging from a street pole. Behind the group is the bottom half of a tall, beige apartment building.

Exiles fleeing dictatorships, refugees escaping violence, activists seeking social change; the stories of Toronto’s Latin American community are as diverse as the nationalities that embody it.

Explore the contributions of the Latin American community to advocacy and activism in Toronto.

Between the 1970s and 1990s, Latin American immigration to Canada was defined by two major waves. The first began in the early 1970s and was composed of political exiles from Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. The second wave started in the early 1980s and encompassed refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

Discover how each wave and the individuals within them continue to shape community-building and activism in Toronto through community centres, streets, and neighbourhoods.

This map tour was researched and written by emerging historian Alonso Melgar as part of the 2022 LA&PS Internship Program through York University and Heritage Toronto’s Equity Heritage Initiative, supported by TD Bank and The Ready Commitment.

Last updated: October 5, 2022


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General Sources

R. Ruiz. “Latin American Canadians” . The Canadian Encyclopedia, last edited December 2, 2021.

J. Ginieniewicz & D. Schugurensky (eds.), Ruptures, Continuities, and Re-learning: The political participation of Latin American in Canada. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, 2006.

P. Bascunan & P. Larrondo. Chileans in Toronto: Memories of exile. Richmond Hill: Sure Print & Design, 2016.

Special thanks to Magaly San Martin, Samuel Lopez, Patricio Bascunan, Marcelo Puente, Lisa North, Francesca Allodi-Ross, Francisco Melgar, and Joaquin Varela for their assistance in developing this map tour.


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