Potted planters alongside the curb in front of a Tim Hortons restaurant.
Photo: Kosalan Kathiramalanathan

Planters installed on Victoria St.— community member seeks shelter elsewhere

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By Annie Arnone

The installation of planters on Ryerson’s campus sidewalk has resulted in the forced removal of a community member, Jason, who has been using the corner of Victoria and Dundas streets as a place of shelter for almost a decade.

On Wednesday, Toronto Police Services received a call about an “unwanted guest” in front of the Tim Hortons on Victoria Street. Upon arrival, they found Jason—who had set up shelter in front of the store for the past several months. He was told to vacate the area, as planters were to be installed in the same location.

Jason did not wish to disclose his full name to The Eyeopener but said that he is now forced to relocate the home he has set up.

“I’ll be OK, but I need to find a new place to stay,” he said. The area in front of the restaurant is sheltered from wind and rain. Jason kept his belongings stacked under blankets up against a support beam.

According to Mark Garner, the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, the planters were brought in as an attempt to get Jason “help.”

“Jason has been deemed a chronic homelessness issue in our area, he’s got dental issues, various mental health issues, he’s been at that space for close to 10 years…if we don’t do something for him, he’s going to die on the street,” said Garner.

He added that his team has been attempting to get Jason into community housing for years, but Jason never accepted their offer.

“The planters were to let him know that this was not a location he could be in—this is not our approach to push homeless people out of the area, this was a targeted focus for Jason.”

But some members of the Ryerson community voiced their opinions about the situation on Twitter—disagreeing with Garner’s tactics.

 

In December 2017, residents criticized the city of Seattle, Wash. for installing bike racks they said were only for the purpose of deterring homeless camping.

More to come.

Comments

  1. Finally , the guy is a parasite . He preys upon unsuspecting students who think they are doing some silly social justice crap by giving him money . He once admitted that he make 3-400 dollars a day there . I myself asked him why , if he makes that much, ” begging ” , is he not in an at. His answer was that rent for an apt is money he could ad would rather spend on pot . He once had a few of his ” friends ” Live ” there as well . Ya, what a great site to come to . Glad he is finally gone.

  2. Finally , the guy is a parasite . He preys upon unsuspecting students who think they are doing some silly social justice crap by giving him money . He once admitted that he make 3-400 dollars a day there . I myself asked him why , if he makes that much, ” begging ” , is he not in an at. His answer was that rent for an apt is money he could ad would rather spend on pot . He once had a few of his ” friends ” Live ” there as well . Ya, what a great site to come to . Glad he is finally gone.

  3. Sorry but while I understand a few people might be upset about his “relocation” I’m one of the many that are saying FINALLY I for one actually live a stone’s throw away and my walk to and from work 5 days a week involves walking past that Tim Horton’s. I’ve also lived here for 10 yrs and he’s been here as long as I have. Countless times I’ve had to manoeuvre around random disgusting vomit and urine puddles surrounding that store. If I’m lucky someone’s already out there hosing it off the walls and sidewalk. The guy’s also unstable. Sure, maybe you’ve walked past him on his good days where he’s all chill and giving you a warm greeting while he’s holding the door for you. But I’ve also seem him at his worst. There’s been a bunch of violent fights between him and his arch nemesis (another homeless man) over some kind of turf war I guess. Probably fighting over who’s holding the door for change that day. I’ve seen him yelling, swearing, using drugs in plain sight and the list goes on. For one, it’s not a good look for Tim Horton’s business. I wouldn’t want that on my own business’ door step. And secondly, if I’m scouting schools for my kids I can’t say I’d be that impressed by homeless people living practically on campus. And keep in mind, because “Jason” lived here a while it encouraged a few other homeless people to set up shop as well. I think there were as many as 3 homeless people living in front of Timmy’s at one time. My suggestion, relocate him to a legit shelter. And let the rest of us enjoy our coffee’s in peace. Now don’t get me started on those skateboarders…

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