The 1918 Anti-Greek Riots in Toronto

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TORONTO, Ontario — On a hot August night, not all that long ago – and for the next four consecutive nights – the good citizens of Toronto went crazy and ignited the largest riot in the city’s history – and one of the largest anti-Greek riots in the world.

On Friday August 1, 1918, approximately 20,000 soldiers and civilians attacked, looted and destroyed every Greek restaurant they could find – while police and militia, overwhelmed by the violence, just stood by and watched.

On Saturday night, however, the police struck back. Fired by vengeance and adrenaline, they raged through the city’s streets with clubs and whips striking out indiscriminately. An estimated 50,000 rioters, civilians and police waged furious battles for hours in the city’s downtown core. Hundreds were injured, including innocent women and children, and damages, in today’s values, totaled more than $1,000,000.


Why the Greeks? What were the consequences? Why, until now, has this incredible incident been forgotten?

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These perplexing questions are answered in a new one-hour TV documentary, Violent August: The 1918 Anti-Greek Riots in Toronto.

Incorporating detailed interviews with historians and family members of those affected, the documentary explores the causes of the riot and chronicles the violent events in detail – using actual archival photos, newspaper reports and representational newsreel footage to bring the people, places and incidents to life.

Violent August provides a balanced view of the riots, examining the social conditions and motives of the enraged World War I veterans who initiated the riots and the situation surrounding the small community of Greek immigrants and restaurant-operators who unwittingly became the lightening rod for the violence.

The film provides a powerful and shocking picture of how a festering climate of racism and resentment became a ticking time bomb primed to explode at the slightest provocation.

Copies available in English, and English with Greek subtitles for $18.95 plus applicable taxes and postage.


“Violent August is a triumph in its revelation of the Toronto Greek experience. Teachable moments on the politics of war and the effects of anti-immigrant racism makes this documentary required viewing for all who truly want to understand the other side of the Canadian experience.”

4.5 out of 5
John Dash T-Mak World


Violent August: The 1918 Anti-Greek Riots in Toronto.
A Burgeoning Communications Inc. Documentary Film.

Produced, Written and Directed by: John Burry

Associate Producer:
Lynne Thorogood-Burry

Edited by: Pete Raekelboom
( Visual Fixations )


Prof. Thomas Gallant,
Chair, Modern Greek History, University of California San Diego

Prof. Yiorgios Anagnostou,
Associate Professor, Modern Greek and American Ethnic Studies, Ohio State University.
view website

J.L. Granatstein
celebrated author and military historian.