Today Tour for Humanity spent the day at a junior high school in Toronto where Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) Educator Daniella presented 7 Canadian Experience workshops to Grades 7 and 8 students. The demographic of the school was quite culturally diverse and the level of questioning from the students reflected the diverse population. In one class the students were very interested in the story of the SS St. Louis. As Daniella told the students how the different countries turned away the Jewish refugees, the class looked increasingly shocked. When the story finally turned to Halifax, they were expecting a very different outcome. When Daniella told them that no one would take in the people and that they had to return to Germany, one student even exclaimed, "That isn't the Canada we know."
In the same class some other students were very aware of antisemitism in Canada, with one student asking if it was true that Jewish people weren't allowed in some public parks or beaches even after the war. Daniella explained that yes this was true and that some beaches in Toronto once had signs stating, "No Jews, no dogs."
Students from some of the other classes had previously studied residential schools and were able to explain the 'before' and 'after' pictures of the aboriginal child sent to a school in great detail.
A common thread throughout the day was shocked faces at the current hate crime statistics, particularly the fact that the majority of hate crimes were committed by 12-24 year olds. Daniella encouraged each class to not be part of that statistic and instead to make small positive changes in their own lives.