christie pits riot toronto

Someone made a graphic novel about Toronto's race riot in Christie Pits

Christie Pits Park may be known today as one of the best places in the city to catch an outdoor movie in the summer, or a sweet toboggan slide in the winter.

Eighty-six years ago, however, the park was best known as the site for one of the most violent fascist riots in Toronto's history. 

The Christie Pits Riot of 1933—which saw a six-hour clash marginalized Italian and Jewish softball players come head-to-head with pro-Nazi Party fascists and anti-Semites, homemade swastikas in tow—is today commemorated by a plaque at the southeast entrance of the park. 

But as fascist tension erupts worldwide, amplified by the digital age, a new graphic novel documenting one of Toronto's—and maybe the entire country's—most xenophobic altercations seems more timely than ever. 

Christie Pits is written by Jewish-Canadian author Jamie Michaels, founder of Dirty Wate Comics, and illustrated by Doug Fedrau, both Winnipeg-based. 

Michaels uses first-hand account interviews and historical documents to depict life for Jewish-Torontonians in the four months leading up to the riots. 

The novel uses Fedrau's stark black-and-white illustrations to highlight the prevalent social conditions that abetted the incident, from the anti-Semitic sentiments in the form of Swastika Clubs coming to a boiling point in Toronto, to the rise of Hitler's Nazi Germany overseas. 

Christie Pits will launch in Toronto at with a free event with Jamie Michaels at Beth Tzedec Synagogue on March 31.

Lead photo by

Dirty Water Comics


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