Toronto: Confessions of a "Scab" During The Garbage Strike 2009

Cabbagetown Cleanup  Crew!!Looks like the 2009 Garbage Strike is finally over. What will we do with our Sundays?  The past four, a group of Cabbagetown residents have been meeting at the JetFuel Cafe’ at 10 AM and have been trying to keep the litter at bay.

It has been an interesting experience. We have been called “Scabs” but I think you can only really be a scab if you are getting paid…I think we prefer being called concerned citizens…

For what it is worth…(not much, I am sure), here are some of my observances as an experienced “garbage collector” and “concerned citizen”:

  1. When something happens, like a strike, it is amazing to see how the Community rallies around…great to see the Don Vale Residents Association supplied a large Bin for garbage pickup at the corner of Winchester and Sumach each Saturday.
  2. I was amazed at the number of smokers who just through cigarette butts into the street and I would guess, do not consider them litter.
  3. A lot of garbage that ends up on the street is generated by Coffee Shops, notably Tim Hortons and Coffee Time. I don’t think there is enough of a drive from those companies to get their clients to deal with the litter. The Coffee Time at the Corner of Winchester and Parliament does not even have an outdoor garbage bin. Please contact those companies and suggest they may want to be more active in keeping their exteriors clean. We must have picked up thousands of discarded coffee cups over the Strike period.
  4. When some of the store owners saw us outside cleaning, only a few said thank you and offered any help. Many thanks! There needs to be a much stronger commitment from the businesses to keep their fronts cleaner including washing and that should be led by the BIA.
  5. The gas station on Parliament Street at Amelia needs to have an exterior cleaning crew on a regular basis. It is a large privately owned outdoor space and the Company should be encouraged to keep it clean at their expense. Time to treat the exterior better to be a good neighbor.

Sidewalks in the BIA are not as well kept as the streets of Cabbagetown and the Businesses need to be more responsible. However Cabbagetowners need to look at the back alleys next. In the meantime, I suggest that we take next weekend off from the Parliament Street Cleanup. Thanks to all who helped especially Johnny Jetfuel, Jan & Kathy Goulding,  the Bortenstein Family, friends Greg & Phil and of course, my patient other half, Benoit!!  All the Volunteers were troopers!

BTW if you find the nice sunglasses I dropped, let me know. At least this time I did not sit on them!!

3 Responses

  1. A.J.

    Great to hear stories about people taking matters into their own hands without the prospect of getting anything monetary in return. A great example of what a community should strive to be. Good job and thank goodness the strike is over!

    A.J.

  2. Trevor Dawson

    RICHARD IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE YOUR OLD JOB BACK..
    SINCE THE STRIKE IS NOT OVER YET..IT WON’T BE DONE
    IN TIME BY SUNDAY..UNION 416 DECIDED TO HOLD OUT TO
    FIND OUT IF THE CITY IS HIRING OUTSIDE WORKERS..

    IT IS FANTASTIC WHAT A GREAT JOB YOU ARE DOING>> You
    were always a great leader in getting the job done..
    Cabbagetown should be thanking all of you for your
    hard work..And where did you lose your sunglasses on
    Parliament St

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