Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy Toronto!

Occupy Toronto! (October 15)
by Tara S.

Under grey and windy skies yesterday, hundreds of people gathered at the corner of King & Bay streets to start Occupy Toronto's occupation. An hour later, we marched east along King Street to St. James park (King & Church streets) to start the occupation itself.

It was inspiring to be in such a positive, friendly environment. Many people waved signs or spontaneously made their own. Everyone exchanged smiles. And though everyone has their own reasons for being there, the atmosphere was one of understanding, respect, community building and empowerment. It was also great to see the respectful police presense, quite the welcome change after the G20 events last summer. It's estimated over 2000 people occupied the park and over 100 planned to stay overnight.

Once at the park people broke out into small groups. Some joined the spontaneous music bands in the middle of the park, while others gathered around the open mic truck at the north end of the park. Volunteers were busy setting up the medical tent area, food serving area, lending library and media area.

I left the park for a bit in the afternoon and was very impressed when I returned that in under 2 hrs the food tent was serving meals (Food Not Bombs are doing the bulk of offsite cooking), the lending library was packed and ~20 portapotties had been set up (donated by CUPE).

One very important part of the Occupy Toronto - and indeed all the Occupy movements - are the General Assemblies. The first one in the park started at 5pm. It covered highlights from other Occupy movements, updates from the various committees and discussion about the decision making process. There was use of the People's Mic (each speaker's message is repeated so those at the back can hear) and an explanation of the handsignals used ("I agree", "I'd like to make a comment", "I strongly oppose or block this"). The guidelines are also read at the start of each General Assembly. These include keeping the space positive (anti- sexist/racist/ableist/homophobic) and a suggested time limit for comments, remarks and objections. General Assemblies are slated to occur twice daily.

Occupy Toronto runs entirely on volunteers and donations. The working committees include logistics, medical, marshalls, food, media and facilitation. Anyone can become involved, it's easy to attend the frequent training sessions and/or shadow volunteers if you'd like to help out and don't have any experience. Donations are also very critical, here's a list of needs.

I'd urge you to visit St. James park to see the Occupy movement yourself and stay updated with them.

Website -
Facebook -
Live stream -
Youtube videos -

Occupy Tororonto volunteers will be also joining our October monthly meeting (Oct 26) to give us an overview of the movement and update us on the continued occupation.

Check out more pics on our Facebook page.

 Marching along King St.

 TCoC at the march!
 Along Adelaide St.

 Entering the park.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy Toronto!

Council members, activists and supporters are joining in the Occupy movements happening across the country!
Join us tomorrow at King & Bay, 10am.
With only one day away, many of you are probably wondering where we are headed and what the plan is! Well here you go!
We plan to rally at King St. and Bay St. at 10:00 AM. At 10:30 we will announcement about the location of the Occupation Zone. This is done to aid us in preventing police and municipal interference. If you cannot make it to King and Bay by 10:00, we recommend you stay connected to the internet and await for the announcement to hit the airwaves.
We look forward to seeing you all and cannot wait to work with all of you!
Today we plan. Tonight we rest. Tomorrow we take over.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Niger River: A River Under Seige

The Toronto Chapter is co-presenting Niger River: A River Under Seige on Sunday, Oct 16 at 3pm.  We have 2 for 1 passes available; please contact us if you would like one, or would be interested in volunteering at our information table.

In the face of a rapidly changing climate and a growing population, resilience, adaptation and optimism help the people of the Niger River to cope with the devastating effects that desertification is having on local agriculture.

Explorer, climate journalist and star of the film Himalaya Alert at last year’s festival, Bernice Notenboom and her team embark on a 750-kilometre kayak expedition on the Bani and Niger Rivers towards Timbuktu, Mali to discover how the local Fulani, Bozo and Tuareq tribes are adapting to the changing weather conditions and the small-scale initiatives undertaken by local farmers, fishermen and herders to prepare for even more extreme conditions to come.