facebook · twitter


“RISE UP! TREATIES, NOT BOMBS!” brings together Toronto to address the growing dangers of nuclear war. The formal ceremony will begin at 6:30 PM at the Peace Garden on Nathan Phillips Square on the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

The international fallout of Trump’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty includes threats of a renewed nuclear arms race. With approximately 13,890 nuclear weapons, 9 nuclear weapons states and a growing global climate crisis- the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have positioned the Doomsday Clock at 2 minutes to midnight.

Today, international peace activist Ray Acheson, Director of Reaching Critical Will, returns to her Toronto roots to speak on the most urgent issue facing our planet and the pressing need to ratify the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or “the Treaty”.

Ms. Acheson will be supported by Torontonian Setsuko Thurlow, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. As an international nuclear disarmament advocate she pleaded with states assembled at the United Nations, “To the leaders of countries across the world, I beseech you: if you love this planet, you will sign this treaty.”


Free, open to the public, family friendly with crafts including origami and lantern-making.

Contact: Vinay Jindal, MD
Chair, Hiroshima/ Nagasaki Day Coalition
hiroshimaday@yahoo.ca | www.hiroshimadaycoalition.ca

About the Hiroshima/ Nagasaki Day Coalition:

The Hiroshima/ Nagasaki Day Coalition is a non-partisan coalition of peace, faith and community groups in the GTA that annually hosts Toronto’s Hiroshima & Nagasaki commemoration ceremony. The HNDC has been standing against nuclear weapons proliferation for over 35 years with a mandate to educate citizens and government on the dangers of nuclear weapons and the need for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. Through efforts of the HNDC, on 24 April 2018, the City of Toronto reaffirmed its 1982 position of Toronto as a nuclear weapons-free zone and sent a letter to the Canadian government requesting it sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Toronto Board of Health

The Toronto board of health held a public hearing on the dangers of nuclear weapons on 16 April 2018.

The Hiroshima and Nagasaki Day Coalition will be tabling the Local Board of Health's1 1982 document, "Public Health Consequences of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear War," which made recommendations, subsequently adopted by Toronto City Council, for a detailed civic policy on the nuclear threat.

Download a PDF scan (4.2Mb) of the 1982 Board of Health document below:

The 1982 Board of Health report was based on the 1981 Symposium on the Medical Consequences of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear War organized by Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The pamphlet "You Decide: What one nuclear bomb would do to Toronto" was prepared by Physicians for Social Responsibility for the November 8, 1982 referendum on nuclear weapons authorized by Toronto City Council for that civic election.

In 1983 Mayor Art Eggleton moved that the ballot results of the November 1982 referendum be sent to the House of Commons and that City Council's decision to declare Toronto as a nuclear weapons free zone be sent to the Prime Minister of Canada.

The Toronto Board of Health has compiled all the above documents into a single file, which can be downloaded at: https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2018/hl/comm/communicationfile-79516.pdf

1. The Local Board of Health, which covered the pre-amalgamation City of Toronto, is the immediate predecessor of the post-1998 Toronto board of health.

Media Room

Media contact: hiroshimaday@yahoo.ca; tel 416 863-1209

Press releases from this and past years can be found on the "Proclamations and Statements" page, as well as in the archives.

Published Articles

Douglas Roche's op-ed "Why Canada should sign the treaty banning nuclear arms" was published in The Globe and Mail on July 29, 2017.  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/why-canada-should-sign-the-treaty-banning-nuclear-arms/article35827028/

The Globe and Mail published Elizabeth Renzetti's two-page profile of Setsuko Thurlow, "Folio: Hiroshima--An August morning, dark as night, that she can never forget" on August 5, 2017. The on-line article, with additional photographs, is entitled "In Hiroshima, one August morning in 1945 was dark as night--and this woman can't forget it," https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/hiroshima/article35881700/

Ellen Brait, "Commemoration of Hiroshima Bombing Held in Toronto," Toronto Star, August 7, 2017 https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/08/06/commemoration-of-hiroshima-bombing-held-in-toronto.html

Anton Wagner, "UN Votes to Abolish Nuclear Weapons," Nikkei Voice, Summer 2017 wp.me/p4pH38-2M2

Setsuko Thurlow, "Canada needs to embrace peace and sign nuclear ban treaty," Toronto Star, July 26, 2017. www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/07/26/canada-needs-embrace-peace-and-sign-nuclear-ban-treaty.html

Anton Wagner, "How Safe is Toronto from Nuclear Weapons?," Now Magazine, 1 August 2017 nowtoronto.com/news/how-safe-is-toronto-from-nuclear-weapons/

Disarmament News

Pugwash Urges Canada to Sign Nuclear Prohibition Treaty

A Canadian Pugwash conference [July 24] urged the Government of Canada to sign the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and “persist in its efforts to bring NATO into conformity with the Treaty.”

Canada, a NATO country, opposed the Treaty in a debate in Parliament, but the conference said the government should “change its own policies and practices” to put it in a stronger position to influence NATO to change its doctrine that nuclear weapons are the “supreme guarantee” of security.

Addressing the conference held in Halifax, N.S., former Canadian Senator Douglas Roche said, “Canada once tried to get NATO to change its nuclear weapons policies; it should try again.”

The conference agreed there is no legal barrier to a NATO state adhering to the Treaty and now is the moment to take advantage of the new political space opened up by the Treaty to revivify nuclear disarmament activity in Canada. Canadian Pugwash is a branch of the international Pugwash movement, which has welcomed the Prohibition Treaty as a “categorial rejection of nuclear arms.”


Featured video

Nuclear Tipping Point is a conversation with four senior statesmen intimately involved in U.S. diplomacy and security over the last four decades. Former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry and former Senator Sam Nunn share the personal experiences that led them to write two Wall Street Journal op-eds in support of working toward a world without nuclear weapons and the steps needed to get there.


Facts & Links


Making Peace in Toronto

In Toronto, individuals and organizations involved in peacebuilding have worked with Toronto City Council on peace measures since World War II.

Selected highlights from a timeline of City of Toronto Peace Actions & Proclamations, Click here for entire timeline document (pdf)

March 28, 1978.
City Council urges Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Parliament to oppose deployment of the neutron bomb by NATO and to ask President Jimmy Carter to stop its production.
May 7, 1982.
City Council votes to hold a referendum on worldwide nuclear disarmament in the November 8 Municipal election.
May 20, 1982.
City Council urges the federal government to urge the United Nations to declare 1983 a Year of Disarmament.
November 8, 1982.
78% of Torontonians who cast ballots in the municipal election vote yes to the following resolution: “Do you support nuclear disarmament by all nations on a gradual basis to the ultimate goal of a world free from nuclear weapons, and mandate your federal government to negotiate and implement with other governments steps which would lead to the earliest possible achievement of this goal?”
January 24, 1983.
City Council designates Toronto a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone.
March 7, 1983.
City Council adopts the Inter-City Solidarity Programme proposed by the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and becomes a member of Mayors for Peace.
October 17, 1983.
City Council endorses the October 22 Against Cruise Testing (ACT) Toronto Disarmament Network demonstration against nuclear weapons.
December 12, 1983.
Toronto City Council approves the building of the Peace Garden on Nathan Phillips Square at a cost of $480,000 to commemorate the City’s 150th anniversary “by creating a lasting physical expression of our highest aspirations in our most public placeÖIn symbolizing peace and a love for mankind, it will represent our continuing struggle to avoid the devastation of war.”
March 5, 1984.
City Council hosts Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau turning the sod to initiate the construction of the Toronto Peace Garden.
July 16, 1984.
City Council endorses the Four-Continent Peace Initiative for the “freeze in the production and development of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems by the nuclear weapons states.”
September 14, 1984.
City Council hosts Pope John Paul II kindling the Peace Garden’s eternal flame with an ember from the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima and pouring water from Nagasaki in its pool.
October 2, 1984.
City Council hosts Queen Elizabeth II dedicating the Peace Garden as a lasting expression of Toronto’s commitment towards peace.
City Council supports the International Shadow Project sponsored by Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament, with thousands of participants in Toronto.
April 21, 1986.
City Council approves the formation of the City of Toronto International Year of Peace Committee and allocates $50,000 to the Committee from the 1986 Operating Budget. The Peace Committee elects co-chairs Steve Shallhorn and Jack Layton
November 13, 1986.
The Ontario Legislature declares Ontario a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone.
United Nations designates Toronto a Peace Messenger City.
July 27, 1988.
City Council passes a motion condemning the federal government’s proposed purchase of nuclear submarines for $10 billion, believing that such expenditure would be irresponsible in the face of pressing municipal needs including housing, health promotion and infrastructure repair.
July 13 and 14, 1989.
City Council approves the establishment of a City of Toronto Peace Committee. Its mandate includes cooperating with and providing financial support to community groups in their initiatives to pursue peace, disarmament, common security, and the reduction of violence; providing advice to City Council on policies and issues relating to peace, disarmament and common security.
August 6, 2001 – 2002.
Mayor Mel Lastman proclaims “Hiroshima Day” in Toronto.
September 19, 2004.
Mayor David Miller Proclaims “Toronto Peace Day” as part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Peace Garden on Nathan Phillips Square.
March 17, 2007.
Mayor David Miller proclaims “Abolish Nuclear Weapons Day.” Torontonians celebrate a quarter century as a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone with a rally at the Toronto City Hall Peace Garden. Watch the video on YouTube

Click here for more on the City of Toronto peacebuilding efforts