Story and photos by TWCA intern Maju Tavera


This is a continuation of a fictional story. Read Act I here.


Scene one:


The scene takes place in a busy underground subway station. There are sounds of the train, steps and voices. Two women are talking at the top of the stairs.


black and white image of people moving on subway platform

Scene two:


We can only see the women’s faces, and we now can hear what they are saying.


woman looks down subway platform as subway train speeds behind her

Zoë: I am so frustrated with the City Budget process. Year after year I’ve been seeing that there is not a real commitment to improve our lives, we just got crumbs. We always have to say; “at least we get something.” Why do I always have to be content with almost nothing, like my salary, people say to me at least you have a job. There has to be a change in our involvement as citizens, we need to be more active and involved in our neighborhoods. The city asks us to do our duty as citizens, paying taxes, and what are we getting?


No proper implementation of Child Care, that’s terrible, can you imagine how many children and parents could be more creative? Children in their childcares playing, learning new things every day, on the other hand the parents could do their work diligently without feel worried about their children. But apparently that is not the rationality. Miserable citizens are better than happy ones.


I’m glad that community gardens are going to expand, I think it’s a novel idea, but I would like to see if they have benefits in the near future for all of us, or only those who have access to them.


What a disappointment with the TTC, how is it possible that people who don’t have cars have to pay so much for public transportation? Unbelievable! I heard someone saying that Toronto is becoming a Global City, exciting, creative, really? For whom?


Laura: yeah Zoë, I understand your frustration, but look, after our conversation last week I felt so inspired by your passion for engaging with our city that I went to the presentation of my ward’s councilor about the City Budget, it was a quick presentations with graphics and tables and some discussions.


My councilor addressed the issue that the police are going to get more funding, more than a billion dollars. She said that the police need to be more creative, to find strategies to keep the city safe with less budget. I thought it is good to have a safe city but honestly we really have to rethink our concept of security. If the city and the government don’t address poverty we are lying to ourselves.


We also talked about property taxes. My elderly neighbors worked their entire lives with a decent salary that allowed them to buy their houses, but now it is difficult for them to pay the property taxes, so most of them are displaced from their homes because of gentrification.


There are so many things to think about. Many of them are so important but they are not addressed properly. For instance housing: I live in a building that belongs to the Cooperative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT). I got infested with cockroaches, it was disgusting and unhealthy, and I was lucky to move to another unit, but I always think when are they coming to visit me again.


Zoë: Sorry to hear about this Laura. When there is so much passivity among the citizens, our authorities and our representatives become lax. Some, a few are really committed to doing good things for the city, but the rest are just focused on getting quick revenues, low-income population is not their priority.


Laura: The train is coming. I’m going south and you?


Zoë: North, have a great week.


Laura: You too, by the way there is a Rally and “Bake Sale” for Anti-Poverty Action on Feb 9th at Nathan Square, 100 Queen St. West from 9:00 to 9:30 am if you have time drop by.


Zoë: Ok, See yaa


This story continues! Read Act III here.