Is there a strike on St. Clair?

A walk along a suprisingly clean avenue from Bathurst to Yonge

Town Crier reporters
Kris Scheuer and Brian Baker took a walk along St. Clair Ave. West to
see first hand how the garbage strike has impacted the popular strip.
Scheuer took the
section between Dufferin and Bathurst
, while Baker
strolled from Bathurst to Yonge. The difference they found was like
night and day.

Is there a city workers’ strike going on?

Really? Because I took a walk along St. Clair Ave. West from Bathurst to Yonge on July 14 and was unassailed by sightings of dark green plastic bags or by malodorous whiffs of fermenting refuse.

It’s like the TTC trip I took to get to the midtown strip was a time machine, transporting me back to pre-June 22 when the city was only slightly uptight.

Save for a discrete parking lot behind Big Bee convenience, stacked with old furniture and suitcases, Bathurst and St. Clair’s southeast corner was pristine.

Moving further east along the south side, Wells Hill Park and Nordheimer Ravine were fairly free of debris.

However, along one part of Nordheimer it appeared a homeless individual’s belongings were strewn about into makeshift sleeping quarters.

That could happen anywhere, anytime though.

Aside from that and the bloated garbage bins along the street, St. Clair was immaculate.

That’s a plus for Greg Mastrokalos, who was enjoying the sun at the Spadina Reservoir. When posed with the question if the area has changed in the past four weeks, he said it was status quo, accept for a certain musky zest to the neighbourhood’s aroma.

“It’s a nice, clean area,” he said. “Ever since the strike, (Toronto’s) not so nice, it’s smelly.”

Continuing along the south side of the corridor, from Russell Hill Rd. all the way to Yonge, it was Toronto the Good.

Admittedly the area is abundant with churches, commercial high-rises, law offices and moderately sized apartments, which could account for the lack of illegal dumping.

Residential buildings making the city’s list of apartments with garbage collection were 349, 235, 60, 48 and 47 St. Clair Ave. West. That list, found on the city’s website, does not include properties where owners have independently contracted out waste services, bypassing the city.

Needless to say, the buzzing Yonge intersection is full of workers and residents — behaving themselves when it comes to mass consumption.

With all the activity closer to Toronto’s main drag, it’s good to see people refraining from trashing the landscape but instead enjoying the sun, like Lori, who was quietly reading away by the Peace Palace Fountain.

Taking a lunchtime reprieve from her government job, she said Yonge and St. Clair is a stark contrast to where she lives in the Christie and Bloor area.

Unfortunately, she says she can no longer take her kids to Christie Pits because of the stench from the temporary dump.

But she’s optimistic.

“People are really pulling together,” she said, adding she found it ironic that 24 hours after the strike started almost four weeks ago, wrapped-up receptacles were rimming with an array of plastic bags, coffee cups and banana peels.

“Different parts of the city might be different,” she said. “I don’t know if people are just getting more bins … but yeah people have been doing a really good job.

“Even those garbage cans (in Amsterdam Park) aren’t even full.”

For the final march west along the north side of the street, many of the three-foot tall bins were swarming with flies and bags of who knows what.

But at least the garbage is kept in its intended place. And still far away from the madding crowd.


About this article:

By: Brian Baker
Posted: Jul 15 2009 3:29 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto