Monthly Archives: April 2009


What does standing at a bus stop suggest to the body that waits, and what are the mechanisms that ‘convince’ us to do nothing but wait? What are the links between waiting for a streetcar and boredom? Can boredom be transformed via random encounters among bodies in transit? Can our inactivity and passivity towards our current precarious life conditions be transformed into the space and time to address our vulnerability to economic crises? What are the links between Mayday, precarious life conditions, the current crisis, streetcars, waiting, habit and boredom? We don’t know yet, but we would like to create them with you!

Another Mayday is approaching and the Precarious Workers, the Unemployed, Immigrants, Indigenous People, Antiracist, Anti-homophobia and Feminist Groups, Prisoner Rights organization, and many more “life contortionists” of the world are organising to protest and celebrate this historical anniversary, with an eye on the current crisis. Protest and celebrate because we need to raise our voices against exploitation and exclusion but we also need to think creatively about new strategies of solidarity and friendship, of social redistribution and self-emancipation. That is, we need to think joyfully and creatively within the “Great Recession” if we want to survive any economic bailouts, future crises and general depressions.

In this spirit, Interference Project: Wait! is looking for artists interested in engaging the above questions for an experiment in the active re-composition of spaces at streetcar and bus shelters around the city of Toronto, with a strong emphasis on precarity. As an interference, rather than an intervention, the project aims at playful stimulations of possible relations between (or among) commuters waiting for public transport, the feeling of boredom, and any other term mentioned above.

We call for artivists whose work explores relational, affective, soft, subtle, fugitive, tactical, high-tech, low-tech, no-tech, invisible and non-confrontational political interferences to join us in the occupation of bus shelters for any specified time on Mayday 2009.

Please send your Mayday interference proposal and artist statement to by April 18th 2009 or contact us for further information.


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Monday, 6 April
Centre for Women and Trans-People U of T
563 Spadina Avenue, Room 101

Struggle, movement and resistance grows from the collective work of artists and activists. Organizing for change includes producing creative works and carrying out cultural interventions – works that shift mindsets, jar apathy, shatter myths and inspire passion.


The struggle for migrant justice needs you. This year has seen elites using the economic crisis as an excuse to steal public funds; wreck social services; take away people’s jobs rather than cut profits; targeting those they perceive as the weakest – indigenous people; the homeless; refugee claimants; women in shelters; queer and trans migrants, caregivers; factory workers and temporary workers.
We say enough is enough. On 2 May 2009, we will take to the streets to showcase our creative power and make clear our demands. Your participation is urgently required.

Come to the Artist Network meeting to hear how you can further the struggle for change. If you’re interested in participating, but unable to make the meeting please email us at

S. K. Hussan

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“Relief and Resistance: A Poor People’s History of East Downtown Toronto”

Gaetan Heroux, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Thursday April 9th, 2009
4.00-6.00pm (Room 2125, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street)

East Downtown Toronto is the city’s oldest working class neighborhood. It was 
once the home to some of Toronto’s wealthiest residents. Today, Toronto’s 
“skid row” is located in the heart of East Downtown Toronto, and the area has 
one of largest concentration of social housing in Canada. The current gentrification 
of the area threatens the very existence of this working class neighborhood and 
has become a staging ground for some of Canada’s most militant anti‐poverty 
demonstrations in since the mid 1990’s.

How did this transition happen? What was the relationship of Toronto’s wealthy 
philanthropists and church organizations to the “vagrants” and “tramps” who were 
flooding the city and East Downtown Toronto at the turn of the 19th century and 
onward? What role did Toronto’s poor houses play in the lives of poor people in 
the area? What was the city’s response to slums which emerged in the area shortly 
have the industrialization of Toronto? How did a local church, which at one time 
was the church of some of Toronto’s most affluent residents, come to open its 
doors to some of Toronto’s poorest residence? How did the local park go from the 
being the playground of the rich to the rallying grounds of the poor? Why are poor 
people being displaced from Toronto’s oldest working class neighborhood? These 
are the questions that the presentation will attempt to answer.

About Gaetan Heroux:
Mr. Heroux is an anti‐poverty activist with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty 
(OCAP) and an Identification Outreach Worker with the Street Health Community 
Nursing Foundation. For the last twenty years he has worked with homeless and 
low‐income people in East Downtown Toronto, has served on a number of steering 
committees related to poverty, homelessness and violence and has been a featured 
speaker at public events, panel discussions, rallies and workshops on poverty in 
cities across Ontario and Quebec. Mr. Heroux is currently working on a book on 
the history of East Downtown Toronto.

For more information, contact Ayesha Alli, • 416 946-0269

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