John Street Hostel
In March 1968 Philip Mullins returned to Pensacola, Florida to talk to his parents about his decision to refuse induction into the US military. His parents were already aware of his decision and had done what they could to get him classified as a conscientious objector to war. He talked to a lawyer in Pensacola about the expense of defending himself in court and his grandfather George offered to sell a cow to help pay the lawyer’s fee. In the end Philip and his parents decided that the best option was for him to leave the United States.
He took a bus from Pensacola, Florida to Flomington, Alabama and boarded a passenger train for Nashville, Tennessee. He went to the office of the Southern Student Organizing Committee and told them of his decision. From there he traveled by train to Detroit and then to Toronto by bus. He had a copy of the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada that he picked up at the office of the Gainesville, Florida affiliate of Southern Student Organizing Committee. The book listed the address of the hostel on John Street run by the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme (TADP). When Philip Mullins arrived in Toronto in March 1968 he went directly to the John Street Hostel. When he arrived at the address in the manual, he knocked on the door and waited on the steps until some men leaving the house opened the door. He entered the house, found no one in charge and claimed a spot on the floor for his suitcase and sleeping bag. He ended up staying at the hostel until June.
The hostel was in a two-story red stone rowhouse at 127 John Street. The house was in a group of ten or fifteen 19th century houses that stood in a cluster in the middle of an industrial area. The Queen Street streetcar was two blocks away and a few blocks to the north was Grange Park and the Ontario Gallery of Art. Draft dodgers and deserters came and went. Most stayed only a few weeks until they found something better. Philip had four hundred dollars his younger brother loaned him and was in no hurry to leave. He spend most of his time getting acquainted with left-wing political groups in the city and looking for a way to get the American exiles organized in some kind of self-help enterprise.
During the four months he lived at the John Street hostel he wrote a number of letters to his brother George. Some of those letters were transcribed and are linked to this page.
Use this link to return to the narrative, Baldwin Street exile community, March-August 1969