UK TOUR DAY SIX (THE RHONDDA VALLEY) — Today, I ventured up into the South Wales Valleys. There's a lot of history up here. The Rhondda is the valley made famous by How Green Was My Valley — right smack dab in the middle of the South Wales coalfield; this was the very heart of the world's coal mining industry during the 1800s.
|King Henry VIII in the National Museum, Wales|
Toronto's anti-Catholic discrimination continued well into the 1900s. The super-Protestant, Catholic-hating Orange Order had a stranglehold on positions of power in the city. At late as the 1950s, the Mayor of Toronto was Leslie Saunders: a Deputy Master of the Orange Lodge who declared that Toronto was a "Protestant city" and used official Toronto letterhead to compare the historical defeat of Catholics in Ireland to the defeat of Nazis and Fascists in Europe.
Thankfully, by then, the tide was finally beginning to turn. In the 1954 election, Toronto dumped Saunders in favour of the Jewish Nathan Phillips. There hasn't been an Orangeman ruling City Hall since the 1970s. But even to this day, no one born as a Catholic has EVER been elected as Mayor of Toronto.
And it all started in places like this, on a sacred hillside in the South Wales Valleys.
|The well itself|
|The holy spring|
|The view from the hillside toward Tonypandy|
|The view from the hillside toward Ystrad|
Jamie Bradburn has the story of the Saunders vs. Phillips election battle on Torontoist here.