50 years in Canada

It’s been 50 years since I came to Canada, newly married to John Phillips.He attempted for months to get  conscientious objector status so that he could serve for two years doing non-military service. This process involved defining his personal definition of a supreme being and proving his beliefs with public evidence. He wasn’t successful, so we dropped out of the Quaker college that we were attending and moved to Canada.

(See the video Vietnam: Canada’s Shadow War for background about the Vietnam War and Canada’s support to both the war and the war resisters. In 2016, the  film, directed by Andy Blicq,  won the Best History Documentary in the Canadian Screen Awards I am one of the featured interviews with photos by John and me.)    http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episodes/vietnam-canadas-shadow-war

We settled on Baldwin Street in Toronto and got our first jobs creating the Baldwin Street Club with the Company of Young Canadians teaching photography and writing to children with learning disabilities and teaching teenagers at Point Blank School, an alternative school.

Toronto, 1968

It was Centennial year, 1967, a very optimistic time. It felt that almost any idea that we would try would work. We started the Baldwin Street Gallery of Photography. The first exhibition was children’s photography with their poetry and stories displayed.  We also co-founded Snowflake  Day Care  Centre for Baldwin neighbourhood children.

The gallery moved to several locations and left  Baldwin St in 1980.

Six Of The Best – Photographic History

On June 21st, I’ll be one of six speakers at the Photographic Historical Society meeting My topic is the history of the Baldwin Street Gallery.My involvement with the Photographic Historical Society began in the 1970’s as a charter member. In the past few years, I have again gotten involved having a table at the photo fairs and attending meetings. It’s well worth becoming a member.  The magazine is   informative and friendly. http://phsc.ca

 June 21,  7:00pm FREE,

North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St , Toronto (conveniently indoor walk from North York Centre subway)

Old Book and Paper Show Toronto

One of my current projects with my son Bennett Jones Phillips is the revived Baldwin Street Gallery .

The name is really a nod to the original gallery.  It had three different locations on Baldwin St. spanning thirteen years. Now, we aren’t really a gallery or on Baldwin St. But you can find us at photo and old paper shows.

So come to The Old Book and Paper Show and seek us out. It’s on Sunday Nov. 3rd 10am-4pm at Artscape Witchwood Barns, 601 Christie St. in Toronto. $8 but children under 12 are free. Parking is minimal. Take the TTC to get there. www.ttc.ca


My Wikipedia featured photo

Coming to Canada

My photo of counseling draft dodgers in 1967 was nominated as a featured photo on Wikipedia. “This is a featured picture, which means that members of the community have identified it as one of the best images on the English Wikipedia, adding significantly to its accompanying article.”

In August 1967, John Phillips and I arrived in Toronto and were counseled by Mark Satin of the Toronto Anti-Draft Program.

After months of applications and hearings, the Algona, Iowa draft board denied John’s application for Conscientious Objector status, which would have allowed him to serve the United States for two years of alternative service to the military. The Draft Board decided to  “make a man” out of John and send him to Vietnam.

During one of John’s visits with the draft board, I sat reading the Ladies Home Journal and learned of the Toronto Anti-Draft Program and the possibility of Canada. The choices at the time were war, jail, or Canada. Many of our friends chose jail. We chose Canada.

When John was given the notice of 30 days to report, we dropped out of the Quaker college that we were attending in New York and headed to Spadina Ave. in Toronto.

It was the best life-choice for me – moving to Toronto with John. I found a sense of neighborliness and community here that contradicts stereotypes of city life. Even after forty years of being here, I still adore Toronto.

Mark Satin (far left) John Phillips (far right)


Voice Of The Artist (1971)