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Downtown Yonge

Bayer

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I think having cops at night there would make a world of difference.

One thing I like about NYC is they have police presence in such areas.

I agree if it helps people feel safer and better enjoy the area, as long as they are not there to persecute the homeless. (I would also add that more police monitoring of drivers would be advisable. Practically no one respects the 40 km/h speed limit.)
 

dt_toronto_geek

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Yonge Street from about Gerrard to Queen was seedier in the 1970's than the 1980's, but I never felt it to be unsafe, through I was a dumb young teenager in the later 70's. I worked at the Cineplex Eaton Centre for all of 1985. After midnight shows I'd grab a slice from The Big Slice (which opened in early '85) and walk home. I saw some strange things, but again, never really felt unsafe at 2:30-3:00am.
The McDee's at Yonge south of Wellesley is even sketchier than Yonge north of Carlton. Wellesley from Yonge to Jarvis St. is riddled with crime for the last half dozen years, it's terrible. Church Street from the park down to about Alexander St can get a little rough too. I'm much more cautious by day and night than I've ever been living in Toronto all my life, and the last 35 years downtown. I'm on a wait list for a co-op just north of St. Lawrence Market, I'm looking forward to getting out of the Church-Wellesley neighbourhood, time for a change.
I've noticed Yonge-Dundas change in the past few years. I used to like taking my dog there to run through the fountains, then I was hassled more often (nothing serious) but I can't relax there, so I only go down there now for Mark's/Best Buy, Canadian Tire or to see a film once or twice a year. I enjoy walking down Bay vs. Yonge St., it's not perfect but it has become far more visually interesting than it was 20 years ago and foot traffic has easily quadrupled.
 

Jonny5

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I can walk around the desolate parts of the downtown fringe on the east side and never feel the sort of claustrophobic creepy vibe I get at Yonge and Dundas at 1:00 a.m. Hell, even in the early evening it feels the same; like this is a place you need to be on your guard. The only other place I feel that at night is around Cityplace where there's so many sketchy people standing in the shadows, or idling in an SUV for 30 minutes, just staring at shit, probably waiting for their coke dealer to come down from one of the towers.

Yonge/Dundas definitely feels less safe in those wee hours of the morning than other parts of downtown. The club district may be notably prone to gun violence, but it still doesn't have that vibe of sketchiness when you walk through it at all. Queen Street East has the homeless shelters and drug users, but in the middle of the night they are pretty much high as fuck and keeping to themselves.

Yonge and Dundas has a feeling that's very difficult to describe. It's like everyone is watching you but absolutely no one cares what happens to you. The trashy disposable capitalism of the surroundings amplifies the effect. Will you be stabbed outside H&M and be something for the tourists to gawk at under a tarp and behind yellow tape in the morning? It's a space manufactured for people not from Toronto to pretend they are experiencing Toronto--but now they've all gone home or to their hotels. It's totally empty except only those still stuck waiting to get out of there, or those with nowhere better to go. It feels almost as though something terrible is destined to happen to you when you pass through. The unused pedestrian all-directions crossing beeping into the night is like a horror film trope; "walk sign is on for all crossings" endlessly repeating while you are stuck waiting for one of those last 505's which come every 10 minutes but only show up every 25 minutes, all the while you are watching out of the corner of your eye who is actually still wandering around the intersection.
 
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sixrings

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I'm pretty sure Doug will cut the safe sites and hire more cops because that's the cost effective way to run a city which he does on his spare time of running a province.
 

Towered

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Dundas Square is way too filthy these days that it's dampening its potential as a tourist attraction. They need to lobby with the city to clean it up (which the city should anyway)

Agreed - it's currently a fascinating mixture of university students, tourists, and crackheads.
 

khris

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One thing I don't understand about Toronto is the lack of garbage cans. They need to be bigger and more of them. People will use them, but not if they're over flowing and stink.
I never feel unsafe at Yonge and Dundas Square, but just north of it since Yonge St. Warehouse came into the area, there's been shootings more often. I feel like somehow this is related to the people that go there. Maybe not, but just a hunch.
 

WislaHD

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Perhaps people who don't think it's not gotten worse have let their standards slip over the years.

I can definitely appreciate the comments of others that attest to the seediness of the area in the 70s and 80s. I wasn't around back then so I cannot say for myself.

In the past 8 years I have spent most weekdays becoming intimately familiar with the area of Yonge + Dundas and College. What I can say is that there has been a sharp increase in the homelessness of the area surrounding College station over the years, perhaps reflecting city-wide trends, rising cost of housing, and our failures as a society to address the issues. These individuals are pretty much harmless to passerbys and largely just keep to themselves.

Yonge + Dundas area in contrast has been consistently 'seedy' for as long as I could remember it. I have seen countless crime scenes and incidents over the years, including multiple incidents including stabbings in front of and inside the Wine Rack. Anyone familiar with Ryerson's security alerts can attest to the bizarre, sketchy, disconcerting, not to mention high frequency, of security incidents that take place in and nearby campus stemming from its proximity to Yonge + Dundas.

The most positive change of recent has been Bentall Kennedy's decision to blast classical music at the front of 10 Dundas. I've seen way less loitering by individuals that I have long suspected of being dealers. I suppose classical music isn't hip.

The least positive change of recent has been the opening of the Yonge Street Warehouse. It seems to attract the lowest common denominator entertainment district crowd, the ones that have yet to develop the financial means to be consistently dropping their money in Toronto's club scene, but intend to act out the part. They are extremely loud on Friday nights and block the western sidewalk. More eyes on the street at night is a positive I guess, though I have also seen a fair few street scraps over the past year from this crowd.

I still wouldn't classify Yonge + Dundas as unsafe, but it is definitely an area that is worth being vigilant when walking around. Of course I am also speaking with male privilege here.

Me too. I nearly s**t my pants the first time.
He once surprised me so badly, I nearly belted him in the face because I thought I was being attacked! I was wearing headphones so I suppose I should have been more aware of my surroundings, it's not as if he hasn't been a staple of that corner for as long as I can remember.

I can attest that he does it specifically to young ladies walking by most of the time.
 

Jonny5

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Toronto paramedics said they were called to Yonge and Gerrard streets at about 3 a.m. for a report of a male suffering from a stab wound. He was taken to hospital in serious but non-life-threatening condition. Police investigators said the stabbing may have occurred south of where the victim was found, near Yonge and Dundas streets. Officers say the victim is not cooperating with their investigation.

About the number of homeless around Yonge from Dundas to College, that's an interesting change as I have recently noticed a decline in homeless people through the financial district. There are still some who show up at rush hours to beg for change, but less than ever this year. Several who were obviously camping out and sleeping there full time are now mostly gone. Could be a coincidence, and these things are cyclical depending on the temperature, or maybe someone called in the cops because of TIFF and had some aggressive enforcement of bylaws done for a few weeks that caused them to decamp for Yonge Street further north?

There could also be a general drop in the area with people in the area simply not carrying change anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if office workers mostly don't have any cash with them now. If they do, it's likely $20 bills they just got from an ATM.
 
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Davis

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I can walk around the desolate parts of the downtown fringe on the east side and never feel the sort of claustrophobic creepy vibe I get at Yonge and Dundas at 1:00 a.m. Hell, even in the early evening it feels the same; like this is a place you need to be on your guard. The only other place I feel that at night is around Cityplace where there's so many sketchy people standing in the shadows, or idling in an SUV for 30 minutes, just staring at shit, probably waiting for their coke dealer to come down from one of the towers.

Yonge/Dundas definitely feels less safe in those wee hours of the morning than other parts of downtown. The club district may be notably prone to gun violence, but it still doesn't have that vibe of sketchiness when you walk through it at all. Queen Street East has the homeless shelters and drug users, but in the middle of the night they are pretty much high as fuck and keeping to themselves.

Yonge and Dundas has a feeling that's very difficult to describe. It's like everyone is watching you but absolutely no one cares what happens to you. The trashy disposable capitalism of the surroundings amplifies the effect. Will you be stabbed outside H&M and be something for the tourists to gawk at under a tarp and behind yellow tape in the morning? It's a space manufactured for people not from Toronto to pretend they are experiencing Toronto--but now they've all gone home or to their hotels. It's totally empty except only those still stuck waiting to get out of there, or those with nowhere better to go. It feels almost as though something terrible is destined to happen to you when you pass through. The unused pedestrian all-directions crossing beeping into the night is like a horror film trope; "walk sign is on for all crossings" endlessly repeating while you are stuck waiting for one of those last 505's which come every 10 minutes but only show up every 25 minutes, all the while you are watching out of the corner of your eye who is actually still wandering around the intersection.

I get that. I've stumbled through there after 1am on a few occasions and felt a little uneasy too, not so much in the square but in the surrounding area. All the same, nothing has ever happened to me there.
 

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