Wednesday’s Headlines

A garden full of tasty victories [ Toronto Star ]
Disturbing graffiti on sign tagged for quick removal [ Toronto Star ]
Miller must court varied viewpoints [ Toronto Star ]
Queen West a neighbourhood in decline [ Toronto Star ]
Streetcar shopping in a budget crisis [ Globe and Mail ]
Man aims to axe Hydro plan to take down oak [ National Post ]
2mm from blindness [ Toronto Sun ]
Team says park too dangerous [ National Post ]
Map reveals T.O. radar traps [ Toronto Sun ]


  1. I don’t think Queen West is as bad as they are making out.

    I like going over to the organic ice cream place to get a cone and walking home through the alleys. It never felt unsafe to me.

    On the other hand, I can see where people are coming from.

  2. RE: “Queen West a neighbourhood in decline”

    The corner of Queen and Bathurst isn’t Toronto’s friendliest corner. On the NW and SE side you find totally different, but equally intimidating groups of people. For those of us that live in and around that area, it’s part of daily life. But, for people that are new to the area or want to visit for a nice dinner…it’s a different story.

    I think targeting the social service providers in the area is wrong. The problems sited in the article (vandalism, graffiti, violence) are more likely attributed to the presence of other, younger crowds in the neighbourhood. I don’t think it likely that homeless, generally strung out crowd outside “The Meeting Place” on the NW corner are doing a lot of tagging. The punk contingent on the other corner is more probable.

    Clearly the problem is larger than just the crowds on 2 corners, but it does start there. For the councillor of that ward to dismiss the claims as “just an opinion of some people” should be grounds for his dismissal. Is there a magic number of residents required to voice a concern before he will listen??

    Generally it takes someone getting killed before politicians wake the fuck up…I guess in this case it will take 2 people getting killed. Let’s hope it isn’t me or you.

  3. The corners of Bathurst and Queen have always been dodgy places. It kind of makes me laugh seeing the gentrified crowed all mixed up with homeless alcoholics and punks. I remember one time seeing a couple of native Canadians beating the crap out of another guy from their group right in front of St. Christopher house, all these “trendy” people were in a state of shock and disbelief, I must have seen at least 15 people grabbing their cell phones to call 911.

    I don’t see how Queen West is in decline when just 10 years ago the place had many more drug addicts and prostitutes and tons of boarded shop windows. What you definitely see more are panhandlers, and what pisses me off is that most of these guys aren’t even from the city. Three of those four assholes who killed Ross Hammond where American vagrants. It isn’t enough that we are getting these guys from all over the country, now we are getting them from the US as well?

    Anyway I find that most of the “characters” along Queen West are harmless and actually keep the place grounded so that it doesn’t become another Yorkville. Besides, seeing morons driving SUV’s along Queen is actually more offensive to me than any panhandler (unless they decide to kill someone).

  4. I would agree with Carlos. I don’t think Queen West is a neighbourhood in decline, but it has hit a snag. It took a long time to attract business back to that stretch of Queen St., it would a shame to chase them away now.

  5. too bad we don’t have a municipal election every year.During the last election joe pantalone made sure that queen street was “clean”. But after the election who cares right?People should continue to call and write joe even though it will go to “deaf ears”, make sure your complaint is through the city clerks office so that it is a part of public record.Joe says nobody complains and that there isn’t a problem.

    When I confronted joe about the problem in our ward he basically said that there is no problem because he hasn’t seen a “report” come across his desk that there was a problem.

  6. adam vaughan is a loose cannon!Imagine he just might spill the beans about what is going on at city hall after all.The toronto NDP are the most secretive bunch they do everything behind closed doors and when confronted with a scandal they always say “they weren’t aware” about any problem.Too bad so many “well informed” people vote blindly for the NDP.I guess being naive is still allowed.

    Let’s see if the citizens punish the provincial NDP for looking the other way concerning what our local politicians have done.Oh I almost forgot loyalty is blind, the party is more important than the people.Didn’t we get upset at the liberals for this same attitude?I guess whats good for the goose isn’t good for the gander.

  7. More interesting is why The Star, whenever anything even vaguely undesirable happens on any major street in the city, deems said street to be “in decline.” Someday when I have time I will go through the archives to see just how many thriving commercial streets are, sccording to them, in decline. Off the top of my head I can think of Spadina, Yonge, and now Queen–three streets that are each as vibrant as any in the country.

    I would love to take some Star metro desk reporters on a tour of a few American cities to show them what “decline” looks like.

  8. Queen West is hardly in decline. The streets have never been busier and people are fighting to rent spaces. In the late 70’s and early 80’s Queen west of Augusta was uncharted and considered dangerous. Every street corner had hookers (remember the short female hooker on crutches who set up shop at Ossington?) or drug sellers. On a certain level I loved it because it was exciting and alive compared to my north Toronto background. I lived at 211 Bathurst just north of the streetcar loop and across from the Oak Leaf Steambaths and the corner of Bathurst and Queen, while less crowded overall, was as just as full of lifes rich characters and street urchins as today.

    My only complaint would be that it has become too commercialized which sounds dumb considering it is a retail strip but I think you all know what I mean. And when places become popular they attract the good bad and ugly.

  9. Methinks Royson James needs to take some of his own advice. After seeing his column gradually sink into a daily polemic against the Mayor and anything he does, I don’t have any reason to believe that Royson is listening to any positions that dissent from his own. Rarely does he provide any rigorous analysis of city hall, either, probably because it would interfere with his self-assigned political mission. I’m open to various opinions, even Royson’s, but not when they say the same thing every time.

    Why can’t Christopher Hume take over the city issues portfolio?

  10. At the start of the 90s a friend used to sub in a bar band at the Paddock. We’d go to his gigs and see actual bar fights, like you see in the movies with thrown furniture, broken bottle, etc. That place was crazy back then … “decline” is a bit rich.

  11. Many people have reminisced about the old Paddock days, and how rough it was, back when.

    I have hardly ever seen (in 15 years of bar-going) actual Boars Nest barfights, with broken chairs. And I can’t remember one in Toronto — but I must have seen some.

    A bad day on queen, some bad elements hanging around, but decline is ya, rich.

  12. There are people panning at Queen and Bathurst, and on Queen between Spadina and University, but it is a very bad vibe at the former. That said, sounds like St. Catharine’s dude inflicted as well as suffered injuries, so I think there’s more to the story than him provoking street people to over react. Hope that gets cleared up and justice is truly blind.

  13. Ben, better yet, Hume should “take over” as mayor, or premier or PM (he has some difficulty with the constitutional issues). No one in the public eye has a city/urban focus to equal his and he is clearly willing to lead. Let’s hope he is willing to stand.

  14. “St. Catharine’s dude inflicted as well as suffered injuries”

    Yeah…I hope he did get a lick or two in before he was murdered. The Star report indicated that the only injuries he was able to inflict may have been verbal ones. And even if he hit one of them over the head with a 2×4 (he did not) then he would have been charged and we’d be having a different discussion about the homeless.

    This is not the case and the end result is one dead man and 4 murderous individuals who are also homeless. I have a hard time stomaching Rosie DiManno, but she wrote today about how some would seem to defend the action of the murderers because of their status. This is ludicrous and we, as a society, obviously don’t condone murder regardless of the murderers social status.

    All that being said, the fact that a condition exists where people must panhandle and more aggressive types panhandle aggressively is the core issue. If only someone would suggest a ban on panhandling PAIRED WITH a plan to help panhandlers get off the street and offer them an alternative lifestyle. We always seem to get one without the other.

  15. Josh, it is just as unreasonable to “defend the action of the murderers because of their status” as to determine there were “4 murderous individuals”. Where you there? Are you on their jury? That’s right, they haven’t had a trial yet.

    My point is that they deserve a jury trial, neither a media nor society’s trial. I do suspect that it was more complicated than much of the media are making it to be. That is a fair assumption, don’t you think?

  16. There were a lot of articles trumpeting increased immigration from the US to Canada (while downplaying the fact that we are still losing 10-15,000 a year net in the other direction). It seems like these particular three immigrants are (allegedly) not really what we were looking for from the Bush exodus.

  17. Matt, back in 2004, there was a stabbing at Coxwell & O’Connor (a couple of stupid highschool kids), and I remember the Star article saying that East York was in decline. One incident, at one intersection, and all of East York is suddenly in decline. Silly…

  18. Grow up, Josh, and learn to read while at it: my first and second comment say the same thing.

  19. The issue at hand is neither literacy nor maturity. The issue is, as you put it, justice. Obviously both sides should have their side heard, but we should not be asked to sympathize with the accused. That is too much. One side of this confrontation is dead and regardless of what malfeasance the dead man may have committed, nothing changes the fact that he was killed, by someone, for a reason that can’t be anything by senseless.

    What do you hope to come from the trial? To hear that the dead man called the accused “hobos” or “fuckin’ hobos” and that his bigotry might make a case for the plight of the homeless.

    Before you spend too much time being reproachful, sir, you may want to take a moment to decide what resolution you’d want from this case. I know that both of your comments say the same thing, they imply that in order to be truly just we must try to sympathize with the accused with the same passion we give the victim. Regardless of my closeness to the situation (I live in Parkdale…don’t think I don’t get this issue) or my sympathy for the plight of the homeless I refuse to allow their social issue to overshadow the fact that a man has been killed. Vengeance gets us nowhere as a culture, this is so true, but automatic politicization gets us nowhere as human beings.

    I had an uncle that was murdered about 10 years ago in a crime that was motivated by his sexuality. In my hometown, his story quickly became about sexuality and not about the fact that he was killed. When you’re busy being exasperated by my curt response, spend some time considering the family of the dead man. Consider that they would probably rather not have their loved one politicized. It is the disgusting impulse to make an issue out of this that drives me to speak rashly. While I’m expanding my worldview (at your courteous advice) perhaps you should narrow yours a bit.

  20. Leo – this is wandering a bit OT but the Coxwell/Danforth area had a rough patch for a while some months back with the taxi driver stabbing and some attacks in laneways. Fortunately this seems to have subsided for the moment and the local rag is reporting some development likely in currently derelict buildings between Coxwell and Greenwood.

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