In the midst of an overdose crisis and a housing emergency, a pandemic happened. As overcrowded shelters became incubators for the virus, people started pitching tents instead. Spend some time inside the encampments that sprung up because of the City of Toronto’s inaction. Each episode draws on one of the four elements—earth, water, wind and fire—to talk about encampment life, local histories and the creative ways residents are making a home in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
55:27In the late 90s, over a hundred people built a tent city in an empty lot on Toronto's windy lakeshore. Twenty years later, people are posting up again in empty lots, under bridges and in the woods along the shoreline. When you live on the exclusive waterfront, location is everything. How do you get to the water without attracting resentful neighbours? How do you keep your camp hidden from view but close enough to a bus route so that you can still move supplies? How do you beef up your tent for winter without the cops coming around? How do you start over, again and again, when you’re constantly being told to disappear? Meet the people making their homes in a place where everything moves fast, just not for them. Watch Shelter from the Storm, Michael Connolly’s documentary about Tent City. Also featured: Cherry Beach Express by Pukka Orchestra. Donate to the Encampment Support Network on Patreon.
40:19In Toronto’s downtown eastside, Moss Park’s encampment is home to a lot of people with deep ties to the neighbourhood. The site of the city’s first overdose prevention facility—a hard-won resource that started in an unsanctioned trailer—Moss Park’s residents are used to claiming space and fighting for what they need. Relationships are important in every encampment. And in Moss Park, people go way back, but while blood may be thicker than water...you can’t drink blood. And the city isn’t delivering water. On two days of a July heatwave, residents walk us through life in the park and share strategies for living in a pandemic without access to life’s most vital resource. Podcast art by Micheal DeForge. Theme music by Jeremy Costello & scoring by Jesse Perlstein. Featured photo of Derrick Black by Jeff Bierk.