Marvellous Ground is Online! Issue #1: QTBIPOC Space - Remapping Belonging in Toronto

Remapping Belonging in Toronto

Co-editors: Rio Rodriguez and Amandeep Kaur Panag

Marvellous Grounds - Special Issue #1
Live at

Inline image 1 Image courtesy: Fatin Chowdhury
QTBIPOC SPACE - Remapping Belonging in Toronto, this first issue of Marvellous Grounds’ online archive features two digital maps that serve as an archive of QTBIPOC stories in Toronto, with contribution from Monica Forrester, Anna Malla, Aemilius Ramirez, and Syrus Marcus Ware. One of these maps is interactive, inviting QTBIPOC in the city to contribute their stories of joy, rage, grief, and other memories. QTBIPOC SPACE also includes an interview with Amber Sandy on First Story Toronto, an app that explores the Aboriginal history of Toronto, an essay by Gloria Swain on BLMTO Tent City, an interview with Syrus Marcus Ware on the Church Street Mural project, and artwork and photography by Fatin Chowdhury, Raven Davis, Fonna Seidu, and Zahra Siddiqui.

“In the queer and trans Black, Indigenous and people of colour (QTBIPOC) communities that raised us, ‘space’ is a common part of our collective language. We sometimes refer to people as “taking up too much space” when they are not allowing marginalized voices to speak. When someone needs to be heard out, we say that we will “hold space” for them. When we empower ourselves, we often use the metaphor of “taking space” for ourselves. But how do we claim or take up space in the city as QTBIPOC people? This collection invites diverse insights about QTBIPOC belonging and claiming/reclaiming space in the city of Toronto” (Kaur Panag and Rodriguez, Introduction).

Inline image 7Image courtesy: First Story Toronto

Mapping right now is one of the main things that First Nations communities are focusing on all across Canada. It’s a way to tell our stories, and to placemark significant areas. Mapping has made a big difference in negotiations with mining companies, or forestry, and has been important when the community is working on their own forestry initiatives. A lot of communities have their own GPS specialists hired to map out significant places in their communities. Historically First Nations people have been very verbal, rather than sitting it down and writing it out, or drawing things. Having something visual can be very important to prompt understanding and prompt memories, and it can be engaging when it comes to documentation.” -- Amber Sandy (Read more)

Image courtesy: Fatin Chowdhury

I believe that BLMTO has become Toronto's most effective LGBT movement because it is an example of intersectional activism at its best. At the occupation, contingents of diverse allies stood in solidarity, including folks with disabilities, as well as Deaf, Muslim, Sikh and Tamil communities, and Indigenous people who offered prayers during the demonstration. The solidarity that arose from Tent City was heart-warming, radical and highly organized.” -- Gloria Swain (Read more)

Mapping Collective History
Author: Rio RodriguezInline image 9

So Church and Maitland was where we worked and congregated to engage with each other. It was a meeting place for street involved trans people, because at that time trans people didn’t have spaces in the community that we could access. It was a working area and a community hangout area. It was around 1995 that the police started pushing us off of Church and Maitland to Maitland and Homewood. They said that the people on Church and the Ballet School on Maitland wanted us off the street, so the police moved us to Maitland on the other side of Jarvis.” -- Monica Forrester (Read more)