Two small forms of protest have occurred out front of the Tim Hortons on Victoria Street since a Ryerson community member was displaced from the property last week.
The Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area (BIA) installed planters in front of the restaurant on March 21, forcing a man named Jason, who had been using the space as a shelter for many years, to move.
“The short of if it [is that they’re] putting the planters in. They long of it, I don’t even wanna think about it,” Jason said.
Soon after the planters were installed, three posters were taped onto the pillars out front of the Tim Hortons, which read, “Somebody lived here,” “between these pillars,” and “we just threw him away.”
As of March 28, the posters disappeared and the planters were spray-painted with the words, “F–k your shrubs. Don’t harass the homeless Jason.” Goodbye Graffiti, a graffiti removal company, showed up to wash away the message later that day.
“This type of infrastructure is hostile architecture that’s extremely anti-homeless and classist,” said Sabrina Guvenc, a Ryerson master’s student studying environmental applied science and management.
Guvenc said that the planters are an obvious way to displace anyone who could use the space to sleep or seek shelter.
“You can no longer lay down in that area, you can no longer sit in that area.”
As for where he will live now, Jason said, “[I’ll] just put this stuff on my back.”