It started on October 15, 2011 as protestors set-up camp at the St. James Park located in the heart of downtown Toronto at the park beside the St. James Cathedral surrounded by King Street East/Jarvis Street/Adelaide Street and Church Street.
Occupiers came with numerous issues that spoke about the 99% versus the 1% and the fact that all stripes of government’s supported businesses that were too big to fail and that they were so small that government didn’t care.
They complained that well governments were introducing austerity measures that affected their wages, benefits, pensions and living & working conditions; the rich, powerful and affluent (the 1%) continued to wield power and influence over the same governments that introduced laws that were aimed to protect them and that they were taxed less than the corporations and wealthy in the U.S.A.
Seniors were marching in the protests reminding anyone that would listen that they suffered economic hardship at the hands of the large financial institutions. They complained that as retirees their money was invested in banks that paid them next to nothing in interest, even though they had invested their life savings.
Many of the Occupy Toronto movement felt disenfranchised from the very system that is suppose to be open and available to all to thrive in. The disparity between the rich and the poor or the haves and the have nots grow each year, with the wealthy getting wealthier and the poor have less and less access to wealth, benefits and a better standard of living. They feel that the system is rigged and are inclined not to involve themselves in a rigged game. The Provincial government shouldn’t be surprised by this, as they had the lowest turnout of voters in the history of any former election in the Province of Ontario on October 6, 2011. Why participate in a process designed for the 1% when you are part of the 99%?
The occupiers set up camp next to the Cathedral Church of St. James run by the Anglican church.
A whole community was developed within a couple of days.
When you approached the camp from King Street East, just west of Jarvis Street you were greeted with an information booth with a young man who was prepared to answer any of your questions and provide you with any of the written material that was available for public consumption.
The camp was very organized, with the following:
- an area to pick up prepared food
- enough portapotties for all
- a generator for the media centre which contained spokespeople, lighting and laptop computers
- a medic tent
- a meditation centre
- a library and a free school
- a free legal advice area
- a meeting area for general assemblies
- enough tents and tarps for everyone
Everyday, this looseknit society would have small meetings and would agree by consensus, using general assemblies what their next move, their next demonstration, their next message to the media and public would be.
Not everyone stayed in the pitched tents, but many in the public supported the sentiments of the Occupy Toronto protestors.
In Toronto the government is watching this very carefully, as police and media can be seen camped out in their vehicles in St. James Park. There are also police officers on bikes and in the air in helicopters.
It didn’t take long for different cities across North America to tire of their cities being “Occupied” and events conspired to motivate mayors in different cities to inform the Occupiers that it was time to pack up and leave the area that they were occupying within that city.
At the municipal level, the Mayor Rob Ford, who practices junk politics, recently announced (after several other mayors in different cities within North America made the same announcement) that it was time for the protestors to leave the park. Unfortunately, he forgot about the fact that it was the Anglican Church (Cathedral Church of St. James) that owns the park that the Occupation is taking place in and they have no problem with the fact that the protestors are camped out in the back of the church. The Anglican church has a long history of sympathizing and supporting the underdog and the disadvantaged.
Yesterday, some of the occupiers decided to leave St. James Park and move to Queen’s Park on the north lawn. Occupiers hoped that no one would complain about the Occupy movement on the north lawn of Queen’s park, as it will not disturb any businesses or residential homes, given that there are none in that immediate area.