I was in Eaton centre on June 2,2012.And 10 minutes after I left the mall one man was shot dead and other 7 injured near a burger inside Eaton.It was 6.30 PM,Saturday.
It is much more probable that a car hit you crossing Dundas st than being a victim fom a gunman,but...the fact is:there are gangs in Toronto.
Toronto Mounted Police in Crowd Control Gear
Toronto, as the largest city in Canada, is also the Provincial capital of the Province of Ontario (also the largest province, from a population standpoint).
This means that it gets its fair shard of protests. In a half-hour period, we saw two such demonstrations. The first one was down young street and was a group of Syrians campaining for a regime change in Syria. The other took place in front of the Ontario Legislative Buildins and was a large crowd of activists protesting social issues (so far as I could make out, recent back-to-work legislation by the Federal government and about proposed cutbacks in government spending).
Anyways, as we were walking up University Ave, the Toronto Police showed up on horseback wearing crowd control gear. I hadn't seen this before, but the helmets with visors on the men was not unexpected, but the face shields and shin guards on the horses was not something I had considered before. Makes sense.
As always, in any city, this tends to be a hint for me to get out of the area.
Don't Be A Banker!
Whilst Toronto has an abundance of excellent bars and restaurants it seems that the banking fraternity (and I use the word "fraternity" in its loosest possible connotation) is condemned to be behind bars. This pic was taken of a bar below the Meryll Lynch building and reminds me that I really should have visited the aquarium.
Good money though!
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
Beggars & Homelessness
When you were sightseeing around Toronto, you may have noticed beggars sleeping on benches, sleeping on the streets & under bridges, parks or vacant land. You may also have heard about Tent City. Did the homeless problem get really bad in the last 10 years? Well..
In the last decade, the number of street people in Toronto has dramatically risen, for rents have been soaring and no public housing has been built since the eighties. Immigrants continue to come to Toronto hoping for new oppurtunities, but housing becomes the biggest obstacle for a stable & prosperous life in Toronto. There are now many roaming houses in Toronto that have four or five families living in one house or apartment, for it is too expensive for them to ever afford a better place.
To complicate matters, the vacancy rate has dwindled in the last decade, and market pressures have forced landlords to push rent into unaffordable ranges. Though now the influx of condo development has dampened rent demand, the cost of rent in Toronto is still second highest in Canada, right after Vancouver.
Food Bank users has increased to historic highs, but Torontonians continue to show their care of the community by donating ever so willingly every year.
Social programs have also been cut in the last decade (i.e. social workers, pyschologists, hospital beds that cater to unstable mental patients), leaving many street people with zero chances of rehabilitation, therefore their segregation with society is growing at an ever accelerated pace. Therefore, they are getting caught up in the drug trade, and are using more aggressive methods to pay for drugs. Maybe the occupation of professional beggar is unheard of in Toronto, but it could become a popular option in the years to come.
There is a fear that this phenomenon will increase the petty crime rate to unprecedented levels. However, I do not think that Toronto will ever get half as worse as Detroit!
Instead of giving change, it is always better to provide them with food = )
If you are from out of country you are entitled to a rebate on the GST (Government Sales Tax). However, there are some tips to be aware of.
First of all, many hotels have a brochure with which you can use to mail your hotel receipt to a redemption agency for a direct mail rebate.
Secondly, any purchase of a non-consumable item over $50 CD is eligible for rebate. However, be aware that the receipt must be stamped at a customs office before you leave the country. Then it must be mailed to a rebate center. If traveling by highway you get your stamps at the local Tax Free agent at the border crossing. OR if traveling by plane you get it stamped at the customs booth located in the bowels of the departing airport.
And here is the rub. In Toronto in Terminal 2, the customs booth is downstairs in baggage claim. So to get your rebate you must leave the checkin line, journey downstairs, get the rebate then go back up and rejoin the line, which at times stretches longer than a soccer field. If traveling alone this can be a problem. Would it be unkind to suggest that this might be a revenue saving ploy by the government. No, I couldn't possibly think that!!
warning:Every time I journey to our neighbor to the North it seems the GST rebate rules change a bit. So be sure to inquire locally before leaving the country. Go to the website below for up to date info.
Spare Sum Change?
The homeless situation in Toronto has become increasingly noticeable over the past 10 years or so. On almost every downtown street corner there is a huddled homeless person seeking a hand-out. They can be pretty aggressive near the Theatres, but otherwise they are not threatening or harrassing..
It's Slippery - Snow Time Again in Toronto
Winter time is here again, many pedestrians have abandoned the snow-covered sidewalks which are impassable in some spots, walking on roads that have been squeezed by the endless flakes. And that's putting them in danger as drivers try to navigate the narrows.
If you happen to be in Toronto and in many parts of Canada at winter time, avoid the slippery iced snow on your path. Wear winter shoes/boots. But please do not walk on the street, cars slip too.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
Getting Lost undergound...
When you are traveling through the underground city, it takes a strict amount of paying attention so you don't get lost. There are signs overhead, but they give general directions. Generally, maps show up every so often, but here's the real warning - when reviewing the maps, be sure to pay close attention to the orientation. North is not always the top of the map! You probably can't see it easily in my pictures, but I was walking along, and by the time I got to the next map, I believe they moved East to the top of the map - I didn't catch it immediately, and ended up heading well out of my way. Hopefully, you'll be on top of where you want to go.
Some people on this site have a habit of describing the homeless in Toronto as "crazies" - an ignorant view of the city's worsening homeless problem. The vast majority of panhandlers are simply down and out and, for whatever reason, have decided to beg on the city's streets. The problem is particularly bad in tourist areas and along Bloor. Although most panhandlers will simply ask for spare change, cigarettes or the like, there has been a reported increase in attacks on passers-by. The most alarming is the fatal stabbing of a tourist by four panhandlers in the downtown core. You needn't fear all the people begging, but you should be careful and aware of your surrounds. And, as always, don't flash valuables on the street.
Queen's Park at night
Queen's Park is small and does have some lighting, but it can be a bit seedy after dark. No, its not quite what your thinking - men are more likely to be harassed than are women, although rapes/assaults in the park are quite rare. Nonetheless, it may be slightly upsetting to pass beside semi-nude men pleasuring themselves in the park at night, so its advisable not to cut through it after midnight.
Fighting for a parking spot in Beaches Park
Toronto is a large city and many people drive cars. Traffic in the city is heavy as you may expect from any other large city, and of course the parking problem is becoming the issue. Such problem we had at Beaches Park. Park doesn’t accommodate with any parking places, so people park just on the street shoulder. We spent ONE HOUR just to find free place to park. You will ask me where a danger is. My answer is to lose a free spot to an impudent little BMW that backs up to your spot right in front of your nose when you are beginning to turn into it. Oh, I was mad. But also it was fun and a lesson to be fast in taking desirable parking space.
- Road Trip
Don't listen to these foolish people...
Toronto is not a dangerous city, no matter if you're downtown east of Sherbourne, west of Dufferin or up at Jane and Finch or in Scarborough. As a lifelong resident of Toronto who's spent a fair bit of time in the American ghetto, I can tell you that you are safer here than in any other big city on the continent.
As far as violent crime goes, you're unlikely to encounter it unless you are involved in gangs or drugs, or are very unlucky. You're more likely to be a victim of violent crime in the Entertainment District on a Friday night than just about anywhere else in the city. That said, the east end of the downtown is a more likely spot for robberies and assaults, especially at night, because of the large transient population, as well as the prostitution and crack/coke scene that flourishes there. There are also a number of low-income housing projects that have cooled down quite a bit in recent years in terms of homicides, but still experience frequent gunplay, drug dealing, robberies and assaults. Still, this area also has some of the best historic architecture in the city, but it's best to visit during the day when you can actually see it.
To those people who have gone on about Jane and Finch and Scarborough being dangerous - either you're intimidated by teenagers with chips on their shoulders or you've never actually been to these neighborhoods, or you simply don't know what a bad neighborhood really looks and feels like. To the fool who went on about violent immigrants and whatnot, you're delusional if you think Scarborough is half as bad as you make it out to be.
As far as property crime, I wouldn't think Toronto is that much better or worse than any other major North American city - but as far as violent crime goes, we got a long way to go before anyone can rightfully post warning messages to tourists about it on a board like this. I mean what tourist is going to find themselves partying at Calypso Palace at Finch and Albion during their stay in TO? I mean, it just ain't that likely!
This title was to get your attention. Please don't not visit Toronto because your afraid of street fighting but here in this picture you can see a bum getting pummeled by a pedestrian obviously having a bad day, hehe.
We were walking down Yonge Street and walked right into these two. The bum was taunting the other guy while at the same time he was walking backwards wanting to run away it seemed. We were quick to get out of their way and crossed the street where I could not resist taking a picture.
God only knows what the problem was but I could only think that the bum messed with the wrong guy that night. There were several shots to his head and then he just remained held to the ground until he might of finally given up and shut his mouth.
You never know what you might see on the city streets.
Wannabe English People
While speding 1 year in toronto i got involved in a indie rock scene in and around kessignton Market and College street, were all the clubs were manily Brit Pop and mod style music, here you would see candian people dancing away to there favourite, Jam, Kasabian, New order, Stone Rose and smiths songs haveing a good timea and not given a dam but while i was outside haveing a smoke with my English friend who lives in Toronto i was approached by a guy wearing a tight Mod style suite, speaking in the most annoying english accent, it turns OUThat most of the people were like that, they felt that they new all there was to know about england becuse they owed a oasis cd. BEWARE OF THESE PEOPLE, BUT MOST IMPORTANT PLEASE TRY NOT TO LAUGHT AT THEM WHEN THEY SPEAK TO YOU IN THERE WANNABE ENGLISH ACCENT!!!
Currency Exchange Warning
I recently went on a trip to Korea. I exchanged some Canadian money at the currency exchange in Eaton Centre, Toronto. They gave me the most atrocious rate I've ever seen. I was confused by the small fraction (0.001995) and did not realized that I was exchanging at a rate of 1 Cdn : 500 Won when the rate is closer to 1 Cdn : 800+ won until later. Of course, to exchange back they asked for a rate of 840 Won : 1 Cdn dollar.
This made everything almost 50% more expensive in Korea. A $20 meal became almost $40 and so on! Luckily, I was on company business and should get my money back. I don't know what their rates are like for other currencies but if their bald-faced robbery of Korean wons is any indication, I would advise you to avoid this place like the plague!
It is the currency exchange place on the main floor of the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto. It is in a corner across from the water fountain and between the Battery Plus store and a shoe store or The Body Shop. Caveat emptor.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Business Travel