City Builders: Immigrant Construction Workers
This film focuses on the labour organization of Italian immigrant workers in the residential construction sector, known at the time as “the jungle” due to its terrible working conditions and widespread exploitation by developers and (sub)contractors. Led by the charismatic Bruno Zanini, a petty criminal and aspiring opera singer-turned-labour organizer, and the thundering Charles Irvine -- a shillelagh-wielding Scottish immigrant who was once a banana boat worker -- bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters, cement masons and labourers, organized as the Brandon Union Group, engaged in two major strikes in 1960 and 1961 – the latter being one of the largest and most violent in the city’s post-war history.
The film will be introduced by its producer and director, Gilberto Fernandes, director of the Portuguese Canadian History Project and post-doctoral fellow at the Robarts Centre at York University.
Steelworkers Hall is a wheelchair accessible space. Parking is available in the lot behind the hall on a first-come first-serve basis (enter through laneway east of hall). There is also paid parking available on the street. The closest transit stops are Spadina and Nassau (510 Spadina Streetcar) and College and Beverley/St. George (506 Carlton Streetcar).
For any other accessibility questions or concerns, please contact Ed Dunsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org.