Despite drugs, stabbings and death, police ignore Toronto's tent city autonomous zone

  • Seattle isn’t the only municipality in North America to have an “autonomous city” within the actual real city. Check out downtown Toronto a stone’s throw away from the major intersection of Yonge and Bloor. A filthy and unsanitary tent city has taken over George Hislop Park.

There are no members of Antifa here – not yet – but rather, the park is occupied by homeless people and drug addicts and persons who are mentally ill.

And it’s getting increasingly dangerous: in addition to nearby businesses and residences being burglarized on a regular basis, there have stabbings of passersby at this lawless cesspool.

We paid a visit to George Hislop Park to speak with concerned residents – you know, those law-abiding taxpayers who have to put up with this gross reality on a daily basis. But after weeks of reaching out to the city, they feel that nothing will be done to improve the neighbourhood.

Indeed, I was told that the councillor for this ward, Kristyn Wong-Tam, won’t even return their correspondence. If that name rings a bell, it’s probably due to the fact that she was the councillor who seconded Josh Matlow’s motion to defund the Toronto Police Service by 10 per cent. That’s sure going to improve things at George Hislop Park!

And apparently the police have been told to stand-down by their political masters. The day I was there, I observed police officers cycling through the tent encampment, but no charges were being laid. Meanwhile, a few kilometres away at Trinity Bellwoods Park, law-abiding citizens risk being fined $880 if they don’t respect those social-distancing circles that have been painted unto the grass. Madness.

Meanwhile, city of Toronto spokesman Brad Ross told me that the city is aware of the problem and is actively looking at potential solutions. But in the here and now, it appears as though this encampment will continue to operate for the months to come.

Stated Ross:

“Before the city clears an encampment, it ensures there is space for individuals inside the system, otherwise we’re just displacing people who will end up creating an encampment elsewhere.”

Translation: it’s going to be a long, hot, filthy, smelly summer at George Hislop Park, where the occupiers think nothing of openly taking intravenous drugs and defecating on the grass. But then again, Toronto is officially a “sanctuary city.” Mayor John Tory must surely be proud.