Instructions for Android phones and other devices
While we hope to release an Android version of our Toxic Tour app shortly, for now we invite you to click on Start the Toxic Tour right here below to use a modified map-based version of our tour.
For the full tour text including all footnotes and references and detailed accessibility info please email [email protected]
Start the Toxic Tour right here
INTRO – WHEN AND WHY WE MADE A TOXIC TOUR
This app is based on our epic 2017 bus tour, “Belly of the Beast: A Biopsy of TO’s Mining & Financial Sectors.” We loaded two school buses with 100 people to delve into the ‘belly of the beast’ (aka the financial district!) and untangle the webs of power and money that connect this city to some of the most harmful and toxic mining projects globally – including right here on Turtle Island.
The bus tour ended, as this one does, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre – the home of the world’s biggest mining conference – the Prospectors’ and Developers’ Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention. Since running the bus tour, we have given a walking version of this toxic tour to hundreds of people. This app is an effort to share the experience with even more people.
This tour aims to untangle the secret webs of power and money that connect Toronto to some of the most harmful and toxic mining and extractive projects around the world. On this tour, you will explore:
· What goes on in those shiny skyscrapers on Bay Street
· The Toronto Stock Exchange – what happens there and why it is the best place on earth to raise capital for extractive projects
· The headquarters of some of the world’s biggest corporate villains
· The sites of inspiring direct actions and other forms of resistance – where and how folks are fighting back!
· The connections that exist between big money and investment and controversial industrial projects all over the world
By the end of this tour, we hope you will have a stronger understanding of how Toronto serves the whims of the mining industry on a daily basis and enables ongoing colonization, violence, environmental destruction and a profit over people ethos.
THE FIRST THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
59% of mining companies worldwide are financed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX and TSXV), with more than 60 of those headquartered in Canada. Many people don’t know this, and what most people especially don’t know is that Canadian mining companies are actually known for being the worst offenders when it comes to human rights, environmental, and labour violations. Canada has been involved in 34% of the high-profile violations in the mining sector over the last 10 years, which is four times more frequent than the next country down on the list.
One of the most important things that MISN does is work in solidarity with people who live in communities where Canadian mining companies are attempting to operate, and this to us means making and maintaining close relationships with human rights and land defenders and affected community members in communities around the world, being responsive to their calls for support, and trying to facilitate the flow of information from those communities to this community, where people often have no idea how Canadian mining companies impact the places that they impose themselves on.
Part of this is about reminding Canadians that colonization isn’t a thing of the past! It continues in many ways to this day, including through the Canadian mining industry. For example, the lands that we stand on today are traditional Indigenous lands. Over time, these ancestral lands have included the Wendat, the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Metis Nation. The irony is that this territory that we now call Toronto is subject to the Dish With One Spoon wampum agreement, which is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas, and Haudenosaunee peoples that bound them to share this territory and protect the land. This agreement has been extended over the years to include subsequent Indigenous nations and peoples, Europeans, and all newcomers — which includes all of us! — in the spirit of peace, friendship, and respect. The fact that some of the worst perpetrators of land destruction and unpeaceful relationships call this place home truly demonstrates how far from reconciliation and decolonization we really are.
Canadian mining companies operate in all corners of the world, but about half of the global profits stemming from all that extraction and exploitation flows throughout Toronto’s financial district. A huge chunk of Canadian mining companies are headquartered right in this neighbourhood, and almost all Canadian mining companies trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange. So, we want to draw attention to the reality that Toronto plays an enormous role in the injustices that happen at the hands of Canadian companies both in this country and abroad. Knowing this also means that we can find new ways to resist corporate impunity and the human rights violations and environmental impacts of Canadian mining. And the more we know about how the mining industry operates, the more we can hold companies accountable.
Behind every story of harm and resistance in impacted communities around the world, there is an equally important – though much more banal – story about mining happening in board rooms, on conference calls and networking dinners that happen right here in the heart of Toronto’s financial district.
In this tour, we’re going to explore what it looks like when we focus the ‘story of mining’ just as much on business executives, government officials, and other powerful stakeholders. By “following the money”, we can begin to understand why Toronto is one of the world’s largest mining industry hubs7, and how the average Canadian today cannot avoid funding this industry. Together, we’re going to trace the web of connections that exists between the key players of the Canadian mining industry — the corporations themselves, the financial sector, the Canadian government, the education sector, the non-profit sector, cultural institutions, the media, and more — and meet some of the worst perpetrators of this industry’s shady financial and colonial practices.
In mining, basically everything is a gamble, and so companies have to get creative in the ways that they prioritize shareholder value above all else, including human lives, the environment, and the local economies of the countries they exploit. One way that this happens is through the lax oversight, legal loopholes, and tax incentives that Canada has become known for worldwide.8 Another way is by making mining and the Canadian national project completely inseparable from each other. Are you ready to see how this happens?
*The “Toxic tour” name originates from the annual Water Gathering and Toxic Tour organized by youth from Aamjiwnaang First Nation which brings folks to the ‘Chemical Valley’ to experience first hand the environmental racism of Canada’s oil refinery industry.
HOW DOES THIS TOUR WORK?
Click on any dot on the map below. Once you do, you should see text underneath describing this tour stop.
You can start the tour anywhere and visit as many locations as you want but the shortest walk and most logical narrative comes from following the points in order.
Click on the rectangle in the top right corner of the map to open it in google maps, or click here.