I thought if they were going to occupy anything it would be close to Bay Street. But then again, back then, I also thought Occupy Toronto and Occupy Bay Street were the same initiative. Turns out they aren’t. They really aren’t. Silly me.
Later in the day, tents started popping up. I figured it was a smart move since it was going to be a wet weekend and headed over to take some photos. I had watched the smart and provocative signs being used in the Occupy Wall Street protest and hoped to see some of the same to let me know what the core issue was for this group.
Since my office is directly north of the park on Adelaide, I see the protest every day I come to work. I love the signs and some of the messages – love, beauty, freedom, justice. I like the openness of ideas. But I don’t get it.
While I do understand some of the underlying motivation for this movement to garner attention for the need for tighter and stricter regulations for banks and financial institutions in the States. I don’t understand it here, where our banks and financial institutions have those strictures on them already.
The messages from the protestors here seem so random, so individualized, I don’t understand what the overarching goal is. I don’t understand how camping out in the park will achieve it. And I certainly don’t understand how if they can’t communicate it to me, who walks through the park every day, how it will raise awareness in the general populous.
But I LOVE the fact we live in a country where this is possible. I love that there are people who are passionate enough to stand up for what they believe needs to be done. I love that people are trying to figure it out.
I’ve watched the evolution from a couple of dozen tents to a community. The first day with chaos and shelter popping up here and there, then the next day a Media Tent and Information Tables.
Everyone huddling in the gazebo to avoid the rain, clapping their hands and singing along with musicians playing protest songs in the middle.
Two days later the port-a-potties were there, and half the people were gone. I saw they had setup a safe zone for women, along with an area for making signs and making music.
Everything was quieter and more organised. The guy with books on a tarp has been replaced with a tent library with bookshelves and chairs. There’s a place for food, learning, a legal tent and a medical area.
There are people cleaning up and making sure the wax from candles is removed from the stone and fountains.
Circles all over the park.
On day 6, after a big rain the night before, there was a pond in the middle of the park. When I was taking a picture a protester asked me if I “knew why this was here”, I answered logically “because it rained last night”. Nope, it turns out it’s because they were jumping up and down in protest so much that it pounded the earth down. [seems this photo is elsewhere – I’ll share soon] He seemed quite proud of this. I’m still unsure as to why he would be. But to each their own.
Today, as I walked through to get my lunch, I saw the first flare up of anger I’ve encountered. Two in a row in fact. Just 2 incidents of a guy yelling at another guy.
I don’t have any facts on what happened, though I suspect the 2 most vocal people weren’t part of the protest and may be part of the regular inhabitants of the park on a normal day.
Today I also noticed that someone brought in some hay to cover the grass where it’s being beaten down and becoming muddy. There are also areas with paths marked with pieces of old carpet. Again, I assume it’s because all the foot traffic and rain is making it slippery, muddy and wet.
10 days in the Occupy Toronto tent city is becoming a real community.
I still don’t get it. But that’s okay. It looks like I have time.