Poor People’s History of East Downtown Toronto

Saturday, September 14 11am - 1pm

Meet at: the corner of Dundas/Sherbourne, will end at Allan Gardens Park

In the lead-up to the September 22nd ‘Taking it Back’ housing march and action, we are offering this walking tour by OCAP member, long time organizer in the neighborhood, and people’s historian, Gaetan Heroux. Get to know the history, and help build on the history of resistance September 22nd!

Description of Poor Peoples’ History of East Downtown Toronto Walking Tour:

For close to two centuries East Downtown Toronto has welcomed the unemployed, homeless and working poor. Infrastructures to support the unemployed, some of which date back to the establishment of Toronto first poor house to the 1830’s, are now being threatened and dismantled by the city to make room for Toronto’s more affluent residents. Where will the unemployed, homeless, and poor residents go? The tour will explore how Toronto’s “skid row” came to be established in East Downtown Toronto. What has been the relationship of Toronto poor with Toronto wealthy residents over the last one-seventy-years? What happened to the slums of Cabbagetown and how are they related to Regent Park, Canada’s largest social housing complex? There is also long history organizing and militant resistance in East Downtown Toronto by the unemployed and the homeless dating back to the 1890’s. How are these struggles connected to later unemployed battles of the 1930’s and 1990’s? These questions and much more will be explored in the tour.


Taking it Back: Housing Shelter, Safe Space Now!

Sunday, September 22nd


Allan Gardens Park

Meal, gathering, march and action

The Downtown East area in Toronto is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Canada. It is also a neighborhood experiencing rapid change as developers aim to buy up and redevelop the area. Governments are paving the way for gentrification by rolling out the red carpet for developers and by cutting vital services like shelters, drop-ins and programs. As condos go up, rooming houses and single rooms are disappearing rapidly. When neighborhoods change, rent skyrockets, People are dying on the streets of this city because of a chronic lack of affordable and accessible housing. There are close to 90 000 households on a 10 year long waiting list for social housing and shelters are operating at over 90% capacity. Together we have fought for and won many things in this neighborhood over the years. We have stood our ground. On September 22nd we do so again and fight for decent housing and shelters, safe spaces, and adequate income for all. They are taking our community piece by piece - join us on the streets September 22nd for the launch of a campaign to take it back.

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