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I’m tired of the lack of civility downtown

Admiral Beez

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I’ve lived in downtown east since 1998, and I’m finding that nowadays there’s are far more crazy and outright bad folks around me. Today I walked down Berkeley St. from Gerrard to Sumach and I passed five people muttering to themselves, two lashing out at nothing. I’m constantly approached by beggars and vagrants on my walks and drives in downtown east. At the TD bank at Parliament and Carlton a rough looking man starting shouting and swearing that the ATM has taken his card, frightening staff and folks in the bank, and leaving me shaking my head that this drugged up idiot is imposing his sh#tty life on the rest of us. Putting aside the crazies, the lack of civility is bugging me as well, on the new streetcars there’s garbage dumped behind the seats, graffiti on homes and litter is everywhere.

My wife and I are beginning to ask ourselves, where could we move to in Canada to get away from nutbars and incivility whilst still living in an urban environment. We visited Victoria, BC but their downtown is worse than Toronto’s with the mild weather bringing shantytowns, addicts, drunks, beggars, vagrants and crazies throughout. We lived in Fredericton, NB for three years and I liked the downtown vibe and sense of decorum, and the harsh winters keep down the shanties, but the jobs were scarce.

It comes down to a feeling that I’m under siege in my own neighbourhood, like there’s a creeping horde of crazies and incivility closing in. I’m no gentrifying suburbanite coming to downtown east with rosy tinted glasses, no I’m a 20 year veteran of downtown living, plus five years living in the Beach(es) as a teen. Come to think of it, the Beach(es) area lacks crazies for the most part and I don’t think I ever saw a shantytown or tent city, but I can’t afford that neighbourhood.

I don’t think I’m going anywhere, as I refuse to be chased out of my home or neighbourhood by the crap around me, but I am getting increasingly tired of it.
 
Today I walked down Berkeley St. from Gerrard to Sumach and I passed five people muttering to themselves, two lashing out at nothing.
They're on their phones! They're suffering from an affliction known as 'Bluetooth Syndrome'. It eventually turns them into zombies. Quite sad. As to yelling at an ATM, I'm finding them pretty co-operative of late. It's the Presto machines that 'get up my nose'.

I'd still rather take the rubbies in a neighbourhood than the throngs of morons that used to coagulate at Queen and Spadina sideroads and alleys when the 'nightclubs' were in full-tilt. Pigs. I used to have a studio above a shop a few doors over from Steve's Music with an entrance from the laneway in rear. At least the rubbies have somewhat of an excuse for being who they are. The nightclub crowds are fffing idiots by choice.

Parliament has been a bit rough in that section for generations now. It's part of the neighbourhood flavour. I think you have more to worry about with what's further south there. I used to live right at the corner of River and Spruce some...yikes...twenty+ years ago. The neighbourhood is actually looking better than it has in recent history. Parliament has been a zoo for at least the last half century, just as Queen has been/still is in many spots.
 
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I have lived downtown since 1988 and I can't say the more colourful characters we encounter every day have bothered me. There are citizens like me, they have every right to be here.

But I have been bothered, of course. I once gave $10 to a man who was somewhat incoherent and had recent facial injuries; he wanted more and eventually ended up pursuing me, limping, on Bay St., calling me the devil in a loud voice because I didn't give him more, to the amusement of onlookers on their lunch break. And then there was a man recently released from jail who, for some reason, needed me to believe that he would do well, while demonstrating his skill at kickboxing by pretending to hit me in the face - I didn't flinch. And the hundreds who have asked me for money, or food at McDonald's. Then there are those who were old and frail, with nowhere to go, in the cold of winter, and I would feel anger at the heartlessness of this province, as if showing up with canned food for a food bank would solve anything. Wynne once did that, when she was in a position to do something significant to solve the problem; instead, she showed that for her, this glaring failure of our society - the existence of food banks - was normal.

Anyway, it's pointless to blame people for their mental health or addiction problems or their poverty, and considering the lack of affordable housing, it's not surprising that some people end up in a tent, a box or an alley. And some citizens of this province, who have my contempt, chose a government that will do nothing to solve any of those problems, quite the contrary. Because of them, more people will suffer.

I find myself much more bothered by the common stupidity of people who don't seem to have money problems but who were taught no manners and no concept of personal space, such as those who suddenly stop in the middle of a stairway to look at their phone, turn corners on the wrong side in the Path and seem to carry the entire contents of their bookshelves in their back pack on the subway. But civility also means tolerance for those who lack it.
 
I mean, given the neighbourhood, I'm not surprised. I take the sherbourne bus most days and there's a lot of people that need help roaming around. I feel like it will get worse the bigger Toronto gets and the more unaffordable housing becomes.

The "crazies" come with urban living. I don't think you're safe anywhere. I'm more bothered by seemingly sane people who lack overall respect. Taking public transit I see it every day. Just too many jerks and I figure some just don't know any better, but still annoyed. Public transit is where I see some of the biggest dickwads. The phone thing is terribly annoying. I saw a girl almost get hit by a streetcar because she was on her phone. The streetcar driver didn't see her and she didn't even know she almost died because her face was so deep into her phone. Man I sound old but people are really getting annoying. Probably why I'm looking to move out of downtown.
 
If people talking on the phone is enough to drive you out of downtown, chances are you wouldn't like it here in Mississauga either. Or anywhere for that matter.

If 10% of people are rude or inconsiderate, there are still 90% who or not. If someone acts rude 10% of the time, 90% of time they are not. Don't focus on the 10% so much. No one is perfect. You are not perfect either. People who complain too much are annoying too.
 
If people talking on the phone is enough to drive you out of downtown, chances are you wouldn't like it here in Mississauga either.
If you are replying to
The phone thing is terribly annoying. I saw a girl almost get hit by a streetcar because she was on her phone. The streetcar driver didn't see her and she didn't even know she almost died because her face was so deep into her phone.
He's not referring to phones, but phone-users who are zombies. You can talk on your phone and still be fully civil and at least partially aware of what's going on around you. But there's a significant minority who aren't. The term 'zombies' to describe them didn't just happen by accident.
(submitted seven years ago)
Phone-zombie. New Word Suggestion. A phone-zombieis someone who is oblivious to the rest of the world as they bend their head and focus on their mobile phone. Their walking pace is slowed down and unpredictable, causing them to hold other people up or bump into them. Submitted By: GordonMackie
.Definition of Phone-zombie | New Word Suggestion | Collins Dictionary
 
If people talking on the phone is enough to drive you out of downtown, chances are you wouldn't like it here in Mississauga either. Or anywhere for that matter.

If 10% of people are rude or inconsiderate, there are still 90% who or not. If someone acts rude 10% of the time, 90% of time they are not. Don't focus on the 10% so much. No one is perfect. You are not perfect either. People who complain too much are annoying too.

As has been said, it's not about people on their phones, it's about people who are on their phones and completely forget where they are. Constantly have people walking into me on the bloody phone.

As far as focussing on the 10%? No, it's more like the 10-20% acting like jackasses eventually rub off on others. Example.. Bus comes, people line up, one ass jumps the line. What does everyone else do? They jump the line too.

I'm baffled how someone feels it's OK to hop in front of me when the bus comes when there's clearly a line. Depending on my mood I'll call them out on it but if I did it each time I'd be exhausted. Just a little example of the eroding common decency.
 
^ While I was searching for the term "phone zombies" not only were there pages of hits, but from all over the world! If aliens wanted to invade, all they've have to do it dial up Earth and state: "Resistance is futile". Many would give them 'likes'...
 
I made this observation as well recently. The marginal people are more abundant, loud and threatening than ever. Mental illness, poverty, etc. There's the drug crisis. I take it as a result of all the development in the city, uplifting where they traditionally lived or hung out at, the widening gap in living costs, affordability. Even 'normal' young professionals are feeling the strain. So I can see why there's strain for low income or fringe living people.
 
Decaying urban centres are invariably a product of conservative/austerity politics that under-invest in public services. E.g.you get what you pay for.
 
Must say that this is a rather depressing thread; I had some hopes that people interested in 'urban issues' would, in general, be much more accepting of the good AND the bad that almost invariably come from living in a large urban area. While I agree with @Avenue that part of the problem is the under-investment in services, it is almost inevitable that urban areas will attract a higher proportion of more marginalised people and that crowds of people will result in some people (maybe talking on their phones) bumping into each other. As they say, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
 
Must say that this is a rather depressing thread; I had some hopes that people interested in 'urban issues' would, in general, be much more accepting of the good AND the bad that almost invariably come from living in a large urban area. While I agree with @Avenue that part of the problem is the under-investment in services, it is almost inevitable that urban areas will attract a higher proportion of more marginalised people and that crowds of people will result in some people (maybe talking on their phones) bumping into each other. As they say, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
I would say that you can feel sympathy for the ill without needing to accept the way the environment has changed as a result. It shouldn't be a faux pas to want to feel safe, IMO.

The way mental illness is treated nowadays does not work, and many of the ill end up on the streets where they are preyed on by others and fall into deeper addictions and worse conditions (mental and physical).

Dare I say that institutionalization needs to be brought back in a reformed and more humane manner? It would surely be better than throwing these people into the jungle and trying to treat the symptoms afterwards (Safe injection, etc.). Either that, or bumping up preventative psychiatric services would be the ways in addressing this.

We should also separate general public behaviour from the mentally ill, as I think they're not quite the same thing.
 
I wrote this in another forum but to me, I noticed it too. Now I live in Scarborough and because of kids, I don't venture downtown as much as before. Also work at Yonge n Bloor vs Financial district and living at Yonge and Eg and going out alot.

So I'm able to spot the differences given my reference points.

-Gentrification or seriously, the massive condo redevelopments. I'm not just talking about living units, but Regent Park is a classic example. The people on the margins would often hang out/sleep in an alley way, or similar in a parking lot of those torn down units. More and more of those spaces are going away. Even Yonge and Bloor area. Where often, people had their little niche areas, now they've been 'kicked' out and are more in the open.

-Expenses rising. Even working professionals find it very strainful due to cost of living. Can you imagine those who are addicted, or no income?

-More corporate fueled drugs. Forget the traditional Columbian or Golden Triangle sourced drugs. Those created in corporate labs with corporate distribution is having a far more greater impact. This is seen for the first time in a long time, our average life expectancy has stalled.

-Population growth. Both immigrants, locals, demographics and the number of those on the margins. Mix it all in.. and you got major issues playing right in front of the city. Plus again, the impact of controlled and unplanned redevelopment in this city not in line with city's ability to spend efficiently in tackling this problem. Also, everybody seems attracted to Toronto hence people would rather put-up with all these issues.

Now I'm not sure if you're homeless, or addicted, is Toronto the next best thing to Vancouver? i.e. a poor/homeless/addicted guy in Peterborough is going to make his way into Toronto because it's better here than other Canadian cities? Vancouver is just too far and expensive to get to.
 
Today I saw a rough bum kick over a bunch of green bins, one into a car, then make a gun shape with his hand pointing it at the driver. So many dangerous people out there. Don't turn your back on a lot of them. And I don't mean that as a figure of speech...I mean literally, keep an eye on them if you see them gesturing or acting violently. Yesterday saw someone kick a woman on the TTC, day before someone disabling a streetcar by vomiting all over the inside, day before that someone randomly kicking things on the street. I could go on, even just for those days.

Hard to say if things are worse. For one I'm not that old and downtown has always had numerous disturbed transients. But the population is also increasing, so statistically there's bound to be more than decades past. In terms of general bums I think things are somewhat unchanged, maybe improved. And I use the term bum not for homeless or down on their luck people. I mean those swearing every second word, spitting, coughing loudly and horking, loud speaking and dropping things like racist epithets, littering, hogging seats on transit, etc. Those are bums, and they're very much around. But it actually does seem to be improving in that regard.
 

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