A unique literary collaboration between Dr. Bryan Palmer, a professor in Trent’s School for the Study of Canada, and anti-poverty activist Gaetan Heroux, is gaining national critical acclaim. Toronto’s Poor: A Rebellious History, explores almost two centuries of poor people’s mobilizations and day-to-day struggles against the conditions of their lives, beginning with the establishment of the House of Industry in the 1830s and continuing through the momentous hunger marches and other protests in the Great Depression, carrying the story forward to the present day.
The book has been selected as the 2017 winner of the Canadian Association of Work and Labour Studies (CAWLS) Book Prize for the Best Book in Work and Labour Studies. The citation for the prize praised Toronto’s Poor as “a remarkable accomplishment due to its scope, its argument, and the gap it addresses in the Canadian literature.” Susan Braedley of Carleton University’s School of Social Work, and a member of the prize committee, stressed how impressed the committee was with the book’s ambitious coverage of a large time span, “its careful, detailed research, and its insightful analysis.”
"It is always gratifying to see research and writing that you have invested so much in rewarded with recognition. To have Toronto's Poor awarded the CAWLS prize is a great honour,” expressed Prof. Palmer, who also noted that this book was supported and funded by the Canada Research Chairs program. “The recognition is particularly appreciated because it will call attention to the long history of poverty and homelessness that are related to the many economic crises that have punctuated Canada's 150 years of existence. Understanding this past is a central task in addressing our present and doing what we can to make a better future."
Toronto’s Poor offers rare insights into people rarely studied, documenting how the unemployed and homeless have figured forcefully in the making of modern Canada. It tackles the subject from the joined perspectives of an historian of labour and an anti-poverty campaigner. Toronto’s Poor is Prof. Palmer’s 21st authored or edited book and his seventh published book since coming to Trent as a Canada Research Chair in 2001. Read more about Prof. Palmer’s and Mr. Heroux’s book.