Crossroads of Culture 200 Years of Canadian Immigration (1800-2000)
Introduction Objects Photos & Papers Themes Kids & Teachers


A popular New Year's toy, this Japanese koma (spinning top) is made of wood and painted with a devilish daruma face, believed to scare away evil spirits. This spinning top is spun using the point at the top, eventually falling towards one of the four cardinal directions. It is believed that these tops were introduced to Japan from China four hundred years ago. (Japanese)

This Slavic toy horse, carved in wood with bristles inserted for a mane was pulled by a string attached to the front loop. After emigrating from Russia and settling in Saskatchewan in 1904, the maker carved a number of unique toys. (Slavic)

This spinning top, a popular children's game in Korea, has two pointed ends flaring towards the centre. Korean children often played with spinning tops in an enclosed box, scoring points for actions such as knocking their opponent out of a specified area. (Korean)

This mother figure doll is wearing a traditional Korean costume made of silk and cotton, and has a painted face and human hair tied in a bun. The clothes are fastened to the right, as is the custom for both men and women in Korea. The owner brought the doll with her in 1928 when she immigrated into Canada. (Korean)

Made of rattan bundles, this ball from Thailand is one of the most popular toys in East Asia. Almost anywhere you travel, groups of three to six people can be seen deftly using their insteps to keep the ball in the air in a game called Sepak Takraw. Created in the 15th Century and receiving formal rules in 1940 (including a net called a Jaring in Malay), the game has become extremely popular, spreading all over Asia. In the Philippines, the sport is called Sipa, in Burma Ching loong, in Laos Kator and in Indonesia Rago. (Thai)

Bus, © CMC/MCC, 87-197

Bus Enlarge image

This is a replica of the springless, wooden seated bone-crunchers that roar up and down the winding roads of Sri Lanka, with pieces of tin flapping all around it. Today, they are being slowly replaced by air-conditioned buses. This bus, made of recycled tin, is in a style wholly unique to Sri Lanka. (Sri Lankan)

One of a set of Russian nesting dolls painted with a variation of images of the Virgin Mary and Child Christ. The doll contained within is essentially the same in shape, colour and finish but has a few subtle differences. The Virgin is often shown with three stars as a symbol of innocence on her maphorion (veil), one at the forehead and one on each shoulder. The largest doll is signed on the base with the artist's name, which suggests that the set was painted by the same hand; though it is possible (especially considering the differences between each piece) that more than one person could have been involved. (Russian)

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