Allan Gardens follow-up: the City of Toronto explains why this park — now home to a filthy tent city populated by drug addicts, criminals, and the mentally ill — is being tolerated

We reached out to the city to ask why this dangerous situation is being tolerated.

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Allan Gardens used to be a parkland gem in downtown Toronto. Not anymore. As we chronicled last week, this park is now controlled by a growing encampment of drug addicts, criminals, and the mentally ill.

We reached out to the city to ask why this dangerous situation is being tolerated. And we recently received a response from a spokesman with the City of Toronto. We shall leave it up to you if this amounts to a valid explanation to an intolerable situation:

City outreach staff and community partners are working daily with Allan Gardens’ encampment occupants to build trusting relationships, help address immediate health and safety needs, and connect people to supports and permanent housing. To support this important work, on June 26, the City established an Information & Help Centre in the park.

The Centre, located in a temporary, modified shipping container on the south-east side of the park, is being used by City staff as a small office. The Centre will provide a consistent, on-the-ground presence in the park to help facilitate relationship building with encampment occupants, their advocates and other interested parties. The container will remain in place while there is a significant need for on site resources.

The Centre will also serve as a resource for neighbours and other community members that may have questions or wish to be engaged further.

A similar centre was a central component of the approach taken at Dufferin Grove Park in 2021, which was successful in helping those at the park transition to shelter or housing.

Ah yes, the infamous Dufferin Grove Park. In the summer of 2020, that park, and its restroom facilities, was taken over not just by “people experiencing homelessness” a.k.a., homeless people, but also by a cabal of social justice weirdos who apparently needed some place to hangout before their gender studies courses resumed in the fall. But the thing is, Dufferin Grove Park was cleared out that summer; nobody sees the Allan Gardens occupation ending any time soon.

By the way, a major reason why Dufferin Grove Park became so infested that summer was due to members of something called Afro Indigenous Rising deciding to locate to this park after occupying Nathan Phillips Square (home to Toronto City Hall) for three entire weeks. They were breaking 11 sections of the Trespass Act and making the square unsafe for passersby. Finally, disgraced ex-Mayor John Tory found his spine and called in the police to clear out these reprobates as pressure mounted from frustrated citizens.

In any event, there is a major red flag in terms of the city’s response to Allan Gardens. And it is this: “This approach also aligns with recommendations from the Toronto Ombudsman’s report Investigation into the City’s Clearing of Encampments to provide dedicated resources for those living in encampments to ask questions or raise concerns with the City.”

As previously reported, this particular ombudsman, Kwame Addo, would appear to be hopelessly woke. Because when Trinity Bellwoods Park was finally cleared out of drug addicts and criminals, Addo was highly critical of the police officers and firefighters who were involved in dismantling that vile encampment.

By the way, we have personal experience with Trinity Bellwoods. In September 2021, cameraman Lincoln Jay and I went down to Trinity Bellwoods to file a report. We never engaged any of the homeless people, yet for some reason, a crack addict sic’d a dangerous dog on Rebel staff, biting myself in the thigh (a bite that needed treatment at a hospital.) We ponder if Mr. Addo has any thoughts on that?

The city goes on to state: “The collaborative model at Allan Gardens builds on the City’s overall response to homelessness that is grounded in a Housing First approach. Outreach work at Allan Gardens is focusing on helping people find permanent housing with the supports they need to live as independently as possible while also aiming to ensure that the park is open and available for everyone’s use and enjoyment.”

Wow. If you happen to drive by Allan Gardens (don’t get out of your car, by the way), please explain how this parkland is even remotely close to being “open and available for everyone’s use and enjoyment”?

The spokesman goes on to note: “The City is committed to making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring – but it cannot do it alone. New and enhanced investments are urgently needed from the Government of Canada and Province of Ontario to complement City investments and increase the supply of deeply affordable rental housing with supports that include harm reduction and mental health supports.”

“Rare, brief, and non-recurring?” The sad situation at Allan Gardens has been going on for years now. Ditto for calls for the creation of “affordable housing.”

Bottom line: we worry if any tangible changes to Allan Gardens will happen in the months and years to follow.

But we must report that the City of Toronto is at least enforcing one bylaw at this park. Namely, the northwest corner of Allan Gardens is home to an off-leash dog park. A sign sternly warns that professional dog walkers are verboten from using this facility.

Nice to see that Hogtown has its priorities in order…

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