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Stanley George Sinclair Grizzle, (November 18, 1918 – November 12, 2016) CM, O.Ont was a Canadian citizenship judge, soldier, political candidate and civil rights and labour union activist. Born in 1918 in Toronto to Jamaican immigrants, he was the oldest of seven children. He died in November 2016 at the age of 97, 6 days before his 98th birthday.
While working as a porter, Grizzle became active in the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), a trade union whose leader was the charismatic African American A. Philip Randolph.
Upon his return to Canada after serving in Europe during World War II, Grizzle became more active in the union. He was elected president of his union local, and pushed the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to open the management ranks to blacks. He also plunged into other causes and was a leader in Canada’s nascent civil rights era of the 1950s, working with the Joint Labour Committee to Combat Racial Intolerance.
In 1959, Grizzle and Jack White were the first Black Canadian candidates to run for election to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (the predecessor to the New Democratic Party). In 1960, Grizzle went to work for the Ontario Labour Relations Board. In 1978 he was appointed a Citizenship Judge by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Awards and acknowledgment
In recognition of his work with the BSCP and his civil rights work, Grizzle received the Order of Ontario in 1990 from Lieutenant-Governor Lincoln Alexander. As further recognition, he received the Order of Canada in 1995 from Governor General Roméo LeBlanc. Additionally, Grizzle recently received the Stanley Ferguson Lifetime Accomplishment award and received a grant of 25 shares of Coca-Cola stock.
On November 1, 2007, a park on Main Street in Toronto’s east end was dedicated the “Stanley G. Grizzle Park” in a ceremony hosted by Toronto Mayor David Miller.
Stanley was married and later divorced from Kathleen Victoria Toliver born in Hamilton, Ontario (deceased).
Kathleen was a founding member of the Canadian Negro Woman’s Association as well as a Canadian activist whose family today is still recognized as part of the Underground Railroad.
They had 6 biological children, 1 foster son and 14 grandchildren. One of his children is Nerene Virgin, a children’s entertainer and journalist.
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