In the sanctuary city that is Toronto, getting rid of tent cities from public parks is merely a temporary thing…
Astute Rebel News viewers may recall the story of Dufferin Grove Park. In July, after three weeks of occupying Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, law enforcement finally booted the assorted thugs who make up the violent rank and file of something called Afro Indigenous Rising. That didn’t prove all that problematic for AIR as they just marched uptown and erected their filthy tents in Dufferin Grove Park, commandeering the public washroom there in the process.
Finally, in late July, city security and law enforcement gave them the boot here, too. The unhappy campers yelled and cussed and for some reason, some of the women went topless.
But after a couple of months of normalcy, tents have returned to Dufferin Grove. The question is: how long shall they remain there given that the latest squatters are illegally trespassing?
City of Toronto spokeswoman Deborah Blackstone had this to say:
The city enforced the trespass notices delivered. However, there is a distinction between requiring the protesters to vacate the park entirely (during regular open hours) and requiring the protesters to remove their tents and cease the behaviours identified as contrary to the trespass notices (and relevant Bylaws). The protesters were required to temporarily vacate the immediate area around the protest so that the infringing equipment and things could be safely removed. The protesters were not told they could not be in the park during its regular open hours.
Fair enough. But clearly the squatters are staying overnight, sleeping in tents — this is indeed an act of trespass. So what does the city plan to do about this most recent occupation?
The City's Streets to Homes outreach program will continue to engage with any persons who are sleeping outdoors and may require shelter and supports. Outreach workers are familiar with encampments and the individuals in them, offering services, including immediate access to shelter or other transitional opportunities, help with accessing income, accessing ID, access to health care including mental health and addictions supports, and in developing a case plan to move into indoor housing.
In other words, it would appear that the residents of the Dufferin/Bloor area will have to endure this state of affairs at the park for several weeks, or even months, to come…
But there is some good news on the tent city horizon!
Just a few days after our visit to Dufferin Grove Park, an Ontario court denied a request from homeless residents and their advocates that would have prevented the city from being able to remove squatters and their tents from Toronto parks.
Thankfully, this judgment means parks will indeed remain as parks as opposed to legal real estate for encampments — assuming someone at Toronto City Hall has the will to enforce the law.