October 16 -Eureka: Remembering some special women

By Joanne Doucette

A cross burns on an Ontario lawn. Toronto Star, Oct. 16, 1925

Luella Price and her friends were up against not only discrimination and racism, but the most extreme form of it when they banded together to form the Eureka Club. In the 1920’s the KKK tried to move into Ontario and had momentary success. Ultimately it never took firm hold here.

Luella Cooper was born on June 30, 1858, in Maryland. Maryland stayed in the Union during the Civil War although many supported slavery. Be-cause it stayed in the Union, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t apply to Maryland. Many moved from Maryland to Washington, D.C. to be free or to escape violent racism. In 1864 Maryland voted to free its en-slaved people.
Her husband, Grandison Price, was the son of Eliza, a black slave and a white slave-owner. Luella Cooper, a free woman of colour, married Grandison Price on June 16, 1875. He was a messenger for the U.S. Government and apparently a veteran of the Union Army.

Grandison “Grand” Price was believed to have served in this regiment during the American Civil War: 1864 U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery

The Prices moved north to Toronto. They lived on York Street where Luella worked as a dressmaker and Grandison worked as a barber. He later found work as a porter on the CPR railroad. Luella ran a boarding house where prominent Torontonians, such as Elisha Edmunds and John Hubbard, lived. By 1893 Luella had her own restaurant. But the wealthy landowners of York Street cleared the houses and businesses to build offices and factories. The Prices moved to Morse Street in Leslieville.

White Race To Be Supreme in Canada, Headline of article, Toronto Star, May 22, 1914
Birth of a Nation movie, Toronto Star, March 3, 1917
Keep Land for Whites, Headline of article, January 29, 1910 A flurry of racist articles appeared in the news media calling for a “White Canada” and immigration laws excluding a host of others: Chinese, Japanese, South Asian and Black peoples
Aunt Jemima ad Toronto Star, February 11, 1914
Grandison Price became a railway porter with the CPR. Many porters stayed with the Prices over the years and others lived nearby along the rail line — a quick and easy way to go to work since all they had to do was flag down a train. Photo 1914 Grand Trunk Pacific Railway – Chef and porters standing beside the train, 1914, Library and Archives Canada This photo is not necessarily of Grandison Price, but represents the many Black men who worked as cooks and porters on the railroads.

In 1905 the Prices built their cottage at 6 Redwood Avenue. The Gerrard and Greenwood area had a small but significant Black community. In 1910, Luella Price and others met there to form the Eureka Club Their motto was “Not for ourselves, but for others”.

Louella Price may very well be in this picture as it was the kind of organization she supported. 19170000 Group of black women in front of YMCA Boarding House, 1917

The Eureka Club: Effective Work Being Done. So it is evident that those of the colored people who have achieved prominence in the affairs of the community are not losing sight of the needs of their less fortunate countrymen.
As for those who need the help of the social worker, their problems are unemployment, illness, desertion – just the same problems that confront the poor of any other race in our city.
Globe, June 5, 1923

Toronto Star, October 16, 1980 Photo

In 1980 at its 70th anniversary, the Eureka Club was the oldest Black women’s organization in Ontario.
The Eureka group has done everything: Assisting with rent, hospital or funeral payments, visiting shut-ins, distributing food and clothing, supplying glasses for children, making cancer pads; awarding scholarships to students entering university, donating a wheelchair to Bloor-View Children’s Hospital, assisting churches in purchasing hymnals…Their work, ever since that first session 70 years ago to help one needy individual, has been largely in the black community, but not confined to it. Toronto Star, Oct. 16, 1980

Front of the apartment building Louella Price built on Redwood Avenue, replacing the cottage where the Eureka Club was founded
Back of the apartment building Louella Price built on Redwood Avenue, replacing the cottage where the Eureka Club was founded

Published by Leslieville Historical Society

Welcome to the Leslieville Historical Society's website. Please feel free to join us, to ask questions, to attend walking tours and other events, and to celebrate Leslieville's past while creating our future. Guy Anderson, President, Leslieville Historical Society and Joanne Doucette, local historian and webmaster.

One thought on “October 16 -Eureka: Remembering some special women

  1. I find this site very interesting.. I grew up on Hiltz Avenue from th 1940s until the 1960s but now live in the Northeast of England

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