Africville & The Ward

Inspired by the film, Remember Africville and the book, The Ward

 

Africville, in Halifax was one of many communities,

as The Ward in Toronto,

considered slums by outsiders, but home and community for many.

Africville's homes were painted myriad colours,

formed in many shapes and sizes, made from recycled items,

green space for gardens, children to run and play.

Cleared away to make an underutilized park,

the Church, centre of the community overnight callously bulldozed away.

Halifax embarrassed by a single culture segregated neighbourhood,

Toronto wanted to clear away The Ward -

a community with a variety of cultures co-existing side by side:

Chinese, Jewish, Russians, Italians, Finnish, Polish.

In each community access to city services of sewage and water,

was cited as reason to bring destruction,

rather than providing updating of services.

Public Housing elsewhere that replaced homes, boring boxy buildings, landscapes devoid of trees, rocks and gardens,

all attempting to enforce a philosophy

the people living here are all the same:

No differences in decor or values allowed,

devoid of opportunities for adults and children

to enjoy their public spaces,

no more gardens to grow their own vegetables and flowers.

Yet the philosophy of life from Africville and the Ward lived on:

a renewed interest in recycling materials when building,

Halifax proudly advertises multi-coloured homes,

the slow awareness that people need to express their individuality,

steps to destroy community can be reversed to build up

a replaced Africville Church Museum once again. The Ward led the way in showing a variety of races could

live peacably side by side.

Africville & The Ward

author
Wilma C. Guzman is a writer who lives with her husband and 3 children in Toronto. She worked for years in Recreation in Long term care. She belongs to a Writers Collective Group at E. Gregory Library. She has published 2 poetry books: a chapbook by Ontario Poetry Society - Across the Generational Divide and a book: Vignettes on Life - from birth to one hundred and two.
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