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ISBN: 9781459406520

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Sweethearts

The Builders, the Mob and the Men

Toronto was Boomtown in the 1960s. The city was growing quickly, gobbling up farmland for suburbs, pushing through expressways, knocking down neighbourhoods to make way for high-rise apartments.

With the rapidly growing population, there was huge demand for new housing. Toronto needed apartments, lots of them. It was a perfect market for a new kind of housing high-rise apartments, replacing older low-density houses and sitting alongside the expressways in the suburbs.

Housing was a great business for making lots of money, quickly. Young entrepreneurs, many of them Jewish, seized the opportunities. But when they went looking for financing, their projects didnt fit the rules and regulations of the banks and the insurance companies. So they turned to other sources of funds. Like John Pullman, who came to Toronto with money to lend that belonged to mob genius Meyer Lansky and his associates. Source of the cash: the mobs profitable gambling operations in the U.S and the Caribbean.

Building high-rise apartments takes lots of construction workers. Toronto attracted thousands of immigrants, many from Italy, ready and willing to work. Unscrupulous subcontractors found it easy to exploit labourers who spoke little English. The men were ripe for unions, and union leaders saw the opportunity. But residential construction unions in Toronto had close Mob ties. Corrupt officials could extract money from the developers as well as their members.

Extortionists, hit men, mysterious fires, accidents, wildcat strikes it was a wild scene. Writer Catherine Wismer follows all these threads in her fascinating account of this colourful and little-known episode in Torontos colourful history.

Contributors

Catherine Wismer

CATHERINE WISMER has worked for Toronto Life and Maclean's. She has published two previous books, Come See My Garden and Faces of the Old North.

Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price

Preview

Explains the process that led to the mafia finding a way into the housing industry. Also points to the fact that the book is an ethnic history where Jews and Italians sought to break the … 7 $0.70

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Looks at the Harbord Class of 1933, comprised of Jews, and the discrimmination they faced from Hitler supporters 9 $0.90

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1930-1949. Looks at the life of a Italian in Toronto during this time period who was involved with illegal activity. Introduced to the Zanini family 12 $1.20

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1920-1949. Looks at Luciano and Lanskey who made their fortune during prohibition and how their operation entered toronto 13 $1.30

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1950-1960. looks at the housing boom that occurred after the war due to the population swell. The decision to start building high rises 15 $1.50

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1950-1960. Italian Immigration to Canada in the early 1950s their need to find work and finding jubs in construction. Explores the creation of unions for housing workers 18 $1.80

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1950-1960. Looks at the mob’s expansion into legitimate business focusing on housing development. Corruption is explored 17 $1.70

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1960s looks at appartment developers and the boom in high rise appartments in Toronto, which renewed commericial and downtown development 9 $0.90

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1960s explores the disorganization of unions at this time and how Zanini and Irvine took advantage of this to gain power over the developers with their own union 19 $1.90

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1960s Looks at the split of the unions into residential locals and the further fracturing of the unions. Zanini is convicted and sent to prison 14 $1.40

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1960s .The syndicate continues to refine methods of money laundering. Examines the Atlantic Acceptance Coorporation and its Bahamas hotel/casino developments 20 $2.00

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1960s the development of new building techniques that maximized profits by decreasing the need for skilled labour and finding cheaper materials. There are also inter-union disagreements for control 12 $1.20

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1960s. Unions and the switch to drywall, work in commercial construction 12 $1.20

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1960s formed concrete, residential unions and the international building trade unions 17 $1.70

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1960s Zanini and his independent Canadian Union in Concrete Forming, acqusations of it being a front for the mob 10 $1.00

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1960s. Looks at the Forming Council vs the labourers 9 $0.90

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1970s Zaini still under suspicion of mafia involvement plans to start the canadian union again, is subsequently shot in the leg in his parking garage 7 $0.70

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1970s. Setting up of a commision by the governemtn to examine the violence in the construction industry but not the industry itself 14 $1.40

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1970s the decline of specific trade unions (ie plasterers) and the building trades council wants to achieve labour unity in the city 8 $0.80

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1970s examines the slow down of growth due to regulations that had been put into place and the choice of some companys to team up with US companies where there was still a boom happening 8 $0.80

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1970s Justice comes calling but there are no regrets, also dubious why some are called criminals and some not 10 $1.00

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A brief accounting of what happened to the key players in these chapters after the 1970s 5 $0.50