Image: An archival City of Toronto Department of Street Cleaning map from the mid-20th Century showing waste disposal locations, such as incinerators. A word cloud of terms taken from the chemical directories used for this project is superimposed in red and grey lettering, showing words like “toilet,” “compounds,” “deodorants,” and “paints.” Archival research by Sophia Jaworski. Image by Isha Sharma.
In the City of Toronto, urbanization hides the chemical infrastructures of settler colonialism on which the city is literally built. This data justice and critical mapping project led by Sophia Jaworski includes the creation of a dataset of over 900 geolocated petrochemical storage and manufacturing sites that were active in the old city centre between 1918-1984. This data includes an archive of the specific chemicals used by each facility, and was compiled from historical chemical industry directories and telephone books. Our project makes this data publicly available as an Excel spreadsheet as well as an interactive Google Map. To situate this data within anti-colonial histories and knowledge making practices, the project also includes a critical user manual with annotated glossary of key terms and resources for further reading, as well as an ArcGIS StoryMap.
Sophia Jaworski, Sarah Chen, Meryum Fatima Hassan, Kat Richard, Isha Sharma, Meg Sheridan, Zoe Wool
Toronto/Tkaronto ChemMap | ChemMap User Manual | StoryMap
Funding & Support
Jackman Humanities Institute Scholars in Residence Program | Collaborative Digital Research Space, UTM