Through the Cracks

This neighbourhood is an odd blend of rich and poor. Gorgeous Victorian homes on one block, crumbling low-income apartment buildings on another. It’s a struggle between the NIMBY dreaming of idylic times and high property values and the down and out cruising for a fix of something – sex, drugs, lotto tickets – to dull the pain for a few brief moments.

There is always a sad collection of lost souls on King just west of Dufferin every morning. It’s worse in the summer when tiny apartments or rooming house rooms become stifling in the heat. Then they sprawl across the doorsteps of shops, take over stoops and sometimes just situate themselves in the middle of the sidewalk – drinking, smoking, puking, turning tricks and getting high, as necessary, lather, rinse, repeat. Garbage seems to collect around them, like they’re magnetized; paper coffee cups, cigarette butts, broken beer bottles and fast food wrappers gathering at their feet as they sit through the night, getting high or coming down.

It’s better in the winter, when it’s too cold for them to spend the night on the side of the road. Then they all disappear, leaving the streets empty and nonthreatening, only crawling out of bed in the late afternoon to gather in front of the usual haunts, bleary-eyed and hoping to score.

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