So, where the Jewish people desired a society where they could participate in various aspects of civil society (such as voting, benefiting from education and being able to practice their faith), the Greeks idealized a society where they could achieve economic success. Both of these communities sought to create gateways onto Yonge Street and into the circulation of culture in Toronto that would bridge their integration into Canadian life (if you don’t know what we’re talking about, check out the video below, which even features glamour shots of the SLC site!).
In doing so, newcomers attempted to establish the ideals which they were prevented from achieving in their homeland. “A Gateway onto Yonge”, then, has meant more than just physical presence to immigrants– it is about achieving potential as they were meant to achieve it. These gateways have since met with resistance, and have ceased to exist. Yonge Street is constantly monitoring what is circulated, and very few establishments have “made it”.
In 1918, there was an uproar against the presence of Greek-owned businesses on Yonge Street (see the above video); and in this same year, a report condemning the presence of a Jewish slum eventually led to redevelopment of the Ward. Will Ryerson’s gateway onto Yonge Street contribute positively to the movement and distribution of Toronto’s cultural ideals? Is the ideal of an information-based, consumer society be something Toronto is willing to accept?