Occupy Toronto, Part II: After a Month in St. James Park

I have been out of the park now for roughly two weeks. “Occupy Toronto” has ended our phase one. I must say, for all those who saw the tents being cleared-out: ending our park occupation does not mean the ending of our movement. The best way to stay in touch with us is through our website: http://occupyto.org/.

“Occupy Toronto” was and still is a phenomenon very new to Torontonians. I can probably make a generalization here and state that, the “Occupy” movement is something very new to North Americans in general. For myself as a European first, I am rather used to mass demonstrations, tear gas, police brutality and the like. For many North Americans all this is quite new though: these are young countries. Also, North America has had some glorious decades after WWII – life has been good here, until a few years ago. Now, things are not looking so good and people are beginning to mobilize. It is understandable.

That is what the “Occupy” movement is all about: mobilization of the masses; raising awareness and building solidarity between those who are looking for real change, world-wide. I had to smile at all the bummed-out spirits who felt that the world was ending when we began to clear-out the park. I tried to explain to them that when a seed is planted in the ground, one has to allow for time to pass, for that seed to germinate, to grow and to give birth to flowers (for example). The same can be said of the “Occupy” movement. We planted the seed. Now, we must care for it; time will pass and if we remain strong, our movement will grow. Patience, persistence and resilience will be necessary and we will overcome.

I looked around the park in the last days there. We packed almost every possible patch of grass. We were literally running out of space. More tents were being set-up every day. Donations were flowing in: money, tents, blankets, food … it was all quite amazing to see. People of all ages, creeds and colours came together, in order to talk about the many socio-political grievances which we all face.

“Occupy Toronto” has been a phenomenal experience. We took an empty park and turned it into a small community. After a month, we had teams of people who worked on specific tasks: logistics, food, peace-keeping, sanitation, etc. We had medics, police liaisons, an info desk, all running twenty-four hours a day. I personally woke-up at around a quarter to four (am that is) to begin my security/peace-keeping shift, every night that I was there. I must say, that we were so good that we were able to remove undercover police officers from the park (and I have photos to prove it). We policed ourselves and we did a fairly good job at it considering our circumstances.

The entire month in the park was a learning experience. We made important connections, we started critical conversations and we even had one or two politicians pass by. I do thank Mr. Bob Rae for his stealth-like walks through the park in the early hours of the morning. I know he thinks we are a little radical but we were not radical enough to keep him away from visiting. Perhaps he will stop being so shy and come to speak at one of our General Assemblies (if time permits it of course). Or perhaps he can invite us at one of his fund-raisers …

For now the occupiers have scattered around but the most important thing is that we are united! We are connected and we can mobilize in a very short period of time. Being spread all over the city now, it makes it quite easy to build our spider web. Connect the dots is what is happening now: all over the city, the country and the world. We are united. We are growing. We are the “Occupy Movement” and we are taking over!

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Comments 12 comments

diogenes 5 years ago

I read a very engrossing book written in 1905. It covered, in fictional form backed by facts, the horrors of the meat packing industry in Chicago and how the rise in socialism fought for better conditions for the workers and the animals.

This was "The Jungle" by John Updike, almost a must read which had eluded me previously.

Our struggle against capitalism greed continues into another century. Conditions will never revert to those featured in the book but the greed factor and the division between the haves and have nots remains the same. I hope the demonstrations round the world may do some good...Bob

Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

A very inspirational article and thank you for giving voice to such a wonderful movement that I have no doubt will one day soon engulf the world. May the Great Spirit continue to guide you and the man in orange walk beside you at all times.

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Greetings Mr. Diogenes,

when you mentioned "The Jungle", I thought you were talking about Upton Sinclaire's book. I see this is a different author you mentioned. I will have to check-out that title.

Indeed, the struggle against greed is an ongoing battle. I think it is a matter of morality and lost values. Making profits at any and all cost must stop. I think many people are realizing that now.

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Cheers!

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank you for your kind words Mr. Spirit Whisperer. It is a good year and so will the following one be. Cheers!

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Just one small correction: though such scenes may be new to Canada, they are not new to North America. In my younger days (the 60's) the US saw many demonstrations, sit-ins (another word for occupy,) marches, etc and many of them turned into conflicts with the police, complete with attack dogs, tear gas, fire hoses and arrests. So such scenes are not new to Americans. Thanks for this look into what is happening in Toronto. Lynda

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Greetings Mrs. Lynda,

I was just thinking about the revolutionary spirit so to speak. I know that demonstrations have taken place in North America before but all in all, Canada and the United States are young countries. This in comparison with some countries in the world which have been around for thousands of years and had countless revolutions, demonstrations and the like.

It is just my opinion that not that many people are used to taking their message of protest out on the street, especially here in Canada. Things are changing though.

Many thanks for the read and for commenting - all the very best!

Sustainable Sue profile image

Sustainable Sue 5 years ago from Altadena CA, USA

I agree with all above and I'm excited about the spread of this movement too. Keep an eye on the media for actions this New Years. I'm sure the Pasadena Rose Parade will not be the only Occupy taking advantage of this strategic time of year:


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Greetings Mrs. Sustainable Sue, indeed some protesters gathered in Pasadena yesterday. The "Occupy Movement" is still strong and I am sure many more people will join our movement this year.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Mr Happy, I am appreciating your dedication and commitment and look forward to #3!!

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank You for stopping-by on this post as well, Mrs. Storyteller. As long as we keep the conversation going, I think we're doing just fine : )

All the best!

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

You inspired me to attend a rally Thursday demanding Obama Order a full federal investigation of corporate responsibility for public examination! I will do my little bit for the cause, because of your inspiration.

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

You are just very sweet Mrs. Storyteller. Thank You! All the best. May Wakan Tanka walk with You.

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