Scarborough Museum new display showcasing works of art from more than 60 racialized women

By Brandon Rowe

Located along near the trails of Thomson Memorial Park, the Scarborough Museum is filled with history, situated on property that was first granted to David and Mary Thomson back in 1798.

There are now just three buildings left that make up the museum, the Cornell House, McCowan Log House and Hough Carriage Works.

“Scarborough Museum is a community museum. The museum is located at Thomson Park, on diverse and Indigenous lands,” said Museum Administrator Pailagi Pandya.

Pandya tells CityNews how it’s differentiates itself from the average museum. It celebrates the area’s diverse past, present and future.

“Traditionally, museums are apart of the colonial project, what we are advancing here at Toronto history museums is to tell stories from an intercultural lens and to work with local communities,” said Pandya.

At the museum until April 19, there will be a display called Women of Courage, which brought together more than 60 racialized, immigrant women together to works towards displaying different types of artworks that reflect on themes such as identity, struggles and wins here in Canada.

Artist Wai-Hin Chan contributed crochet artwork and also wrote a poem dedicated to her mother. She also called out a question that many racialized people get asked.

“The question, ‘Where are you from?’ is not problematic, it’s the tone and disbelief that you can be from here and look like me. This question is even more powerful [with] ‘Where are you really from?,” explained Chan. “It’s really relevant for everyone but for racialized people it’s that disbelief that you can be from here and yet, none of us are really from here expect our Indigenous brothers and sisters.”

CultureLink initiated the Women of Courage Project that is funded by Department of Canadian Heritage and partnered with the Toronto History Museums. It gave offered women 40 and over the chance to network and curate artwork that deals with anti-racism and self-care.

“Although we come from very different places once we arrived in Canada, our stories merged. They became very similar. By writing our stories and coming together and talking about our stories then we can work towards trying to eliminate those situations that have become barriers from achieving the best that we can in this country,” said another contributor Jolly Abraksa.

If you would like the chance to experience the past and present while also giving a voice to marginalized communities, you can find the Scarborough museums schedule on the City of Toronto’s website.

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