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25 Nov 2016

Remembering Judge Stanley Grizzle

We lost a legend earlier this month. Stanley Grizzle died in Toronto on November 12 2016 at age 98. Here's what you should know about him. 

A former Citizenship Court judge, railway porter, World War II veteran, political candidate and labour union activist, Stan Grizzle was a dynamic force in the African Canadian civil rights community.

Born in Toronto to Jamaican parents, and the oldest of seven children, Stan grew up to challenge the colour barrier that prevented Black Canadians from enjoying equal rights. At age 19 he co-founded the Young Men's Negro Association of Toronto.

As a soldier in Europe, Stan challenged the then-common practice of using soldiers of colour as butlers for senior officers. As a railway porter, he helped organize workers under the banner of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, serving as the local chapter's president for 16 years.

Photos by Kathy Grant


Constantly agitating for change, in 1954 he led activists to Ottawa to challenge the federal government for a more open immigration policy for Caribbean immigrants to Canada, and as a member of the Joint Labour Committee to Combat Racial Intolerance he focused on ensuring fair treatment for Blacks in employment and accommodation.

He also served as the Toronto Chair of the Martin Luther King Fund on projects promoting change through non-violence. In 1960, Stan went to work for the Ontario Labour Relations Board, and in 1978 was appointed a Citizenship Court judge by Pierre Trudeau. Stan was the recipient of many honours, including the Order of Ontario in 1990, and the Order of Canada in 1995. In the 1990s, he was inducted into the Labour Hall of Fame, and was the recipient of the Harry Jerome Award.

In 2007, the City of Toronto named Stanley G. Grizzle Park in his honour, at Main and Danforth in Toronto, and in 2013 he was presented with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Ontario Government. He leaves behind six children, Patricia, Nerene, Pamela, Stanley, Latanya, and Sonya, and foster son Ricky Hurst, 14 Grandchildren and many Great Grandchildren.

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