William P. Hubbard was a great Torontonian. Born on the then outskirts of the city to former American slaves, Hubbard worked his way up from baker to cab driver and eventually became one of the most celebrated and influential politicians in the city. He’s credited as being “instrumental” in the creation of Toronto Hydro & Ontario Hydro.
In 1999 the City of Toronto honored him by creating the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations. The city’s website explains that the award is presented “to a person or persons whose outstanding achievement and commitment has made a significant contribution toward a positive race relations climate in Toronto.”
The award is a great idea in concept, and it’s gone to some great achievers including the first Black Canadian elected into the legislature, Kamala-Jean Gopie “a doer, not a chronic complainer”, and Samuel Getachew who recently wrote an interesting article praising Andray Domise.
But something has gone horribly wrong. This year’s Hubbard award is going to one of the most divisive groups in the city’s history that was co-founded by a supremacist who recently called an Ethiopian refugee a “coon”.