Get the Crack/Yuppies/Condos Outta the Neighbourhood!!!

I had been working on my exhibition at XPACE, when it was still in its Kensington Market Location, when a man burst in raving that the "Crack is killing the Market" and inviting us to a local business/residents meeting to work on resolving the issue, which is a "part health/safety" and "part business/real estate value" based concern (a genuine one as noted by the comments expressed by blogTO writers below in response to a recent Globe&Mail article). My first thought was "the Crack is killing the Market! - what a great title for a show" when my friend, artist Katherine Piro exclaimed, "Leave the crackheads alone! It's the Yuppies that are killing the Market." I understood her frustration as XPACE had been given no alternative but to move as their rental price had just skyrocketed.

You see us artists don't so mind displacing the poor... as long as we aren't displaced by condos and yuppies as evidenced by another article in the Globe&Mail this week.

It seems to be the natural cycle of life for a neighbourhood: the art community displaces the poor, the yuppies displace the art community and the crackheads displace the yuppies and businesses. It's gentrification and no one wants it in their 'hood. But at least you don't hear the crackheads whining (unless you really hear them crying, pounding outside your door, wanting your silverware); junkies don't care who lives in their neighbourhood as long as they're paying by cash.

So my proposed solution is to kill two birds with one stone and move the Kensington crackheads to Queen St. West. Make those condo-living, starbucks-drinking and mono-culture-bringing yuppies think twice before moving in. It's a win-win situation.

Is Crack Killing the Market?

A guy who lives in my house was arrested by cops in Kensington this summer and beat up. He didn't look bad but you could tell he was hurting for about a week. He's about 50 and makes good coin but looks like Keith Richards and was smoking a fatty. Seems like the cops wanna crack down and keep it clean in Kensington, maybe they couldn't find any crack smokers that night so they had to settle for busting a man and his weed. -- Sookie

A friend of mine lived at Spadina & College and had crackheads up on his roof and peeking in his windows all the time. Once he had to respond to the sound of his neighbour across the hall screaming when she came home to find a crackhead in her apartment rifling through her belongings. The hard drug use, and associated problems in Kensington are real. I'm intrigued by the claims in the article... I mean, we all know that the market has always had it's drug addict problems... but to claim that in 6 months the problem has skyrocketed and that in the same time frame business are taking 50% hits is astounding. Gentrification and degradation, in my naive view, should sort of happen at similar rates, no? Unless of course, the gentrification is more spread out, and the poverty, crime, and drug problems from these various areas are being forced into tighter corners like Kensington. -- Jerrold

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