Leslieville’s Surprising History

Joanne Doucette, a Leslieville Historian and a hugely valuable asset to the Leslieville community has revealed the surprising history of the Mosque on Rhodes Ave in Leslieville. Scroll below to learn more. I’m sure you’ll notice something eerily similar to what’s happening right now in the World.

Disgusting proof that history does indeed repeat itself.

Why This Matters

My family came to Canada in the 70’s and they’ve enjoyed all the benefits this amazing country offers. But more importantly, they’ve given much more back then they’ve ever received by creating jobs, working hard and giving back. All this after losing literally everything back home. Imagine being 60 and having everything you’ve ever worked for completely taken from you and/or destroyed then having to start all over again.

The last of my family made it here just before last Christmas. They were on that plane that Trudeau greeted! For the first time in decades the entire family was together for Christmas. Here’s a photo! Oh and for those of you that see this photo and think “hey we should be helping our own first and not letting these freeloaders in”! Well, I’m happy to say that they all have jobs (and some have even created jobs…lots of jobs) and aren’t sucking on the government teat like some ignorant “Canadians” assume.

It’s hard for me to see what’s happening out there today. I wake up with a pit in my stomach every morning worrying about what horrifying news will make the headlines today. As I posted on Facebook yesterday:

We are going to be ok but only if we get involved, dig deep and do better. Got money? Donate it. Got time? Give it. Got a voice? Use it.

Now take a walk through this scary Leslieville history and promise to yourself that you will not stay silent.

Mosque on Rhodes Ave LeslievilleEl Fatih Mosque, Rhodes Avenue, photo by Joanne Doucette. The former Dian Hall, an Orange Order Lodge

Leslieville Mosque Article

The Toronto Sunday World, July 2, 1914, The Dian Hall opens. Racist views and discrimination against minorities and particularly South Asian and Chinese immigrants were the norm. Most people did not question the idea that Anglo-Saxons, so-called, were superior, that Christianity was the only right religion, and everyone else should be converted. There were even then voices that dissented.

Ulster Stadium Leslieville

Orange Band competition, Sons of Water fife and drum band, Ulster Stadium (just south of the Ulster Arms Tavern), July 5, 1930, City of Toronto Archives

Leslieville Nazi

Sign on Nazi ‘Headquarters’, Rhodes Avenue. Photo by Edwin Feeny, Toronto Star, 1966. Reproduced under Toronto Star License. From the Digital Collection of the Toronto Public Library.

Nazis in Toronto

Crowd Jeers Nazi leader William Beattie when he tried to speak in Allan Gardens. Photo by Douglas Glynn, Toronto Star, 1966. Reproduced under Toronto Star License. From the Digital Collection of the Toronto Public Library. Veterans were particularly outraged.

Nazi leader William Beattie (left) Shouts at People to get off his Lawn, Rhodes Ave. Nazi headquarters. Photo by Barry Philp, Toronto Star, 1969. Reproduced under Toronto Star License. From the Digital Collection of the Toronto Public Library. The Nazis were distinctly not welcome in the neighbourhood. War veterans and their families were the majority here. They did not fight Hitler’s forces only to have them move in next door on Rhodes Avenue.

Leslieville Mosque

William John Beattie, photo by Reg Innell, Toronto Star, 1970. Reproduced under Toronto Star License. From the Digital Collection of the Toronto Public Library.

Leslieville Mosque Nazi

Neighbours protested and others came to Rhodes Avenue to demonstrate. This events were not always peaceful. Fist fights, flying bottles and stones, and arrests were all too common. James Nugent is forced into a police cruiser yesterday; one of nine men arrested when right- and left-wing extremists clashed at a celebration marking the birth of former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Forty police formed a line between 150 communists and the headquarters of the far-right Western Guard. Photo by Erin Combs, Toronto Star, 1973. Reproduced under Toronto Star License. From the Digital Collection of the Toronto Public Library.

Leslieville Mosque

Demonstrators outside the Park Plaza Hotel where a committee was discussing immigration policy. These people obviously did not feel the Western Guard, Nazi Party or KKK spoke for them and should not be at such a hearing. Photo by Graham Bezant, Toronto Star, 1975. Reproduced under Toronto Star License. From the Digital Collection of the Toronto Public Library.

Leslieville Mosque protest

March against racism: About 500 people marched down Yonge St., photo by Reg Innell, Toronto Star, 1980. Reproduced under Toronto Star License. From the Digital Collection of the Toronto Public Library.

Rhodes Ave Mosque Nazi Headquarters

Klansmen, Dundas Street East. Wolfgang Droege (right). Photo by Frank Lennon, Toronto Star, 1980. Reproduced under Toronto Star License. From the Digital Collection of the Toronto Public Library.

Leslieville Mosque Rhodes Ave KKK

Noisy defiance: Members of the Ku Klux Klan, Rhodes Ave. shout at marchers from Riverdale Action Committee Against Racism. Photo by David Cooper, Toronto Star, 1981. Reproduced under Toronto Star License. From the Digital Collection of the Toronto Public Library.

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