I’m excited to share that after months of research, my colleagues and I will be rolling out our series on transit in Scarborough next week.
After listening to attendees at our second Story Circle and conducting interviews with community members, it became clear to me that buses in Scarborough are a lifeline for many residents. They take people from the outer reaches of this sprawling suburb to their jobs in the downtown core, or to points in between and beyond.
Given that Scarborough is home to many new immigrants, racialized communities and people living on lower incomes who may not be able to afford a car, buses are an essential way for people to navigate their day to day: getting their kids to school, attending a basketball game, shopping for groceries, meeting family and friends for dinner…the list goes on.
Although buses play a central role in the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) network, they’re also often a source of frustration for commuters. Issues such as delays, overcrowding and bunching — where two or more buses arrive at a bus stop together — can cause aggravation, especially when missing a bus throws people’s schedule into disarray.
My story will kick off our transit series by looking into the role that buses play in Scarborough, the challenges locals face in using them and possible solutions for creating a more reliable service. I look forward to sharing our transit-related stories with this community, and getting your feedback. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your anecdotes. Are buses part of your daily commute? How do you travel for work or pleasure? Let me know via email, then scroll down to see how you can share your #ScarbTransitTales via social media.
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Transit Summit 2019
As part of his opening remarks at 2019 Transit Summit, an annual event organized by transit advocacy group TTC Riders and several co-sponsors, former city councillor and former TTC vice-chair Joe Mihevc presented a 10-point summary of his thoughts on the state of transit in Toronto. Even people who may not share the same political views would likely agree that transit solutions are needed to alleviate the city’s traffic gridlock issues, he said. Mihevc emphasized the roles of buses in the system, as did his co-panellists, urban planners Jonathan English and Shannon Holness. “Buses matter,” Mihevc said. “They are not sexy, but they are the workhorses of the TTC.”
Every Monday night, young poets, singers and other performers meet for a weekly open mic at Burrows Hall Community Centre, near Sheppard Avenue East and Progress Avenue, as part of Scarborough’s youth-led arts movement Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (R.I.S.E). The theme of this week’s open mic was toxic masculinity.
“We feel it’s an important issue to highlight,” Jason De Mata, R.I.S.E operations director, told me over the phone. “Some men in the community, especially racialized men, don’t have appropriate outlets to have these conversations — tough conversations. [R.I.S.E is a] safe space to have conversations around topics, such as toxic masculinity and how we treat women in our lives.”
After an opening conversation about what healthy masculinity looks like, the performances kicked off. The main act was Toronto artist Balu who presented something that was part performance, part talk and part mindfulness workshop. He spoke about his own personal journey, and how music gave him a way to express emotions that he didn’t have words for. “I am doing this because I didn’t have men do this for me,” Balu said.
As part of Scarborough Discourse’s ongoing investigative series, we want to highlight your transit experiences. In my conversations with residents and attendees at our second Story Circle, you told us about some of the barriers you face while commuting, so my colleague Anita and I would like to reflect these challenges in our coverage.
Please send us photos of delays, crowding, bus bunching and other frustrations from your daily commutes. If you want to showcase your love for Scarborough transit, that’s cool, too! Either way, share your stories on social media using the hashtag #ScarbTransitTales, and be sure to tag @TheDiscourse.
Let’s meet up
- June 1. “Honouring Our Community” Powwow. TAIBU Community Health Centre’s first annual powwow will showcase both local and visiting artists. Planned performances include a potato dance, hoop dancing and a drum line. After the powwow, a community feast will take place. Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute. 12 to 5 p.m.
- June 1. T.Dot BANGERZ Brass Hip Hop Workshop. Local hip-hop brass band BANGERZ Brass is partnering with the Scarborough Museum to present a free outdoor workshop that’ll provide a behind-the-scenes look at the group’s influences, musical skills and more. The event will end with a performance by BANGERZ Brass, so attendees should bring their instruments and jam along! Scarborough Museum. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- June 1. Community Associations of North Scarborough BBQ. Described by organizer CDF Community Association as a way to celebrate Scarborough’s diverse neighbourhoods, this kid-friendly event is an opportunity to meet your neighbours, grab a bite to eat and learn more about local services. Agincourt Mall. 12 to 2 p.m.