Police Presence Increased as Homeless Eat Under the Sights of Historic Artillery Pieces
Toronto, October 1, 2002--As Homes not Bombs kicked off its fifth month of Tuesday evening 6 pm vigils at the Moss Park Armoury October 1, its new Food not Bombs chapter got off to a great start, with some two dozen people on hand to provide over 60 meals on site and delivering dozens more to folks around the neighbourhood.
Thanks to donations from such great places as Eternal Abundance, Alchemy Bakery, Village Market and Kensington Bakery, a wide variety of breads, sandwiches and delicious cakes were available to accompany a hearty vegetable and pasta soup. Sharing of food creates a special bond in the community, and on October 1, lots of folks stayed around eating, talking, discussing the goals of our campaign.
The sight of so many people in front of the armoury had the military worried, and two Metro Police squad cars were on the scene in minutes, parking in the armoury lot to keep a close eye on the progression of the evening meal (perhaps they were hoping for a stray piece of the amazing cakes donated by Alchemy??). Military police kept watch from an unmarked vehicle, and two sets of military officers peered out from armoury windows throughout the evening to make sure the evening remained easily digestible.
This was the first time Metro police have attended the full length of the vigil, so it's clear that if you want to test the limits of tolerance in a "democratic" society, have a community meal!
We were pleased to see that the government is having to use more of its resources to maintain the "integrity" of the armoury, and sincerely hope that through our increased presence -- -- such as the 12noon-8 pm vigil on Tuesday November 5, increased Food not Bombs feedings, and vigils on other evenings of the week -- -- the cost will be so great that they will be forced to the table to discuss how together we can end the crisis of poverty.
Currently, our campaign goal is to get the building declared surplus, handed over to the city of Toronto, and then into the hands of folks who will provide housing and supports for the most economically vulnerable in our city.
Towards that end, we have the assistance of two architects who were on site last night, and who will draw up plans for how the armoury might look as a housing community. Such plans will be put on public display each Tuesday evening so that potential residents can have input into how, eventually, this war training camp will be transformed into truly affordable housing. Within weeks, a banner proclaiming, "If you lived here, you'd be home by now" will likely be part of the evening vigils.
We also have a member of the group working on a proposal to the federal government to help fund the transformation process.
Getting the building declared surplus has been a slow process, one that was rejected by War Minister John McCallum. Nevertheless, we are still hoping that key Metro political figures well known to the cause of ending homelessness will answer our calls to meet and discuss how they can pressure Ottawa towards this goal.
As usual tonight, we got the "great cause, wrong location" comments from area residents who say they are sick of the "needles" and "used condoms" they find in their neighbourhood. We asked if these concerned residents have actually done anything to help folks in the neighbourhood who are without housing or adequate social supports rather than simply complain about them. The answer, surprise, was no, so we encouraged them to actually get involved in finding a solution for everyone, not just for their own peace of mind.
Meantime, the vigil continues every Tuesday evening from 6-7:30 pm (new time!), with the next feedings on Tuesday, October 29 and Tuesday November 5. If you can join us for the vigil or help out with the food not bombs portion of things, would like to make a banner or help redecorate the site, please contact Homes not Bombs at (416) 651-5800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Homes not Bombs
Because Canada should build homes, not blow them up!
PO Box 73620, 5099 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
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