Canada: Coast-to-coast Call to Action – Compilation of submissions

While North Shore was down in late November and early December, we received three submissions from BC and Quebec about actions taken there in solidarity with the Coast to Coast Call to Action being circulated by Wet’suwet’en land defenders involved with Gidim’ten checkpoint. The three are below, all were received anonymously.

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Vancouver: Our Homes Can’t Wait statement on the Strathcona squat

On Saturday April 18th, our members and supporters organized the Kennedy Stewart Squat in the Downtown Eastside to provide emergency shelter for unhoused and underhoused residents seeking space during the COVID-19 global health pandemic. It has been heartening to receive support for the squat in our community and our member organizations. The squat was also supported by Vancouver School Board commissioners, following cities in Ontario, Massachusetts, Arkansas and elsewhere that have used schools for emergency shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. It has also been a sign of the success of the squat that, in the days following the repression of the squat with the arrest of 14 squatters, both the City and Provincial government made statements that they are taking measures to provide housing for homeless residents in BC, and that the “anxieties of DTES residents are justified.” We feel partially vindicated by these statements, but unfortunately the provincial government’s current plans are seriously lacking.

Our objective with this squat was twofold: to protect ourselves from the harms of COVID-19 while pressuring the government for immediate and long-term housing solutions. In the short term, the government must open some of the existing 12,000 units of tourist hotels as has been done in cities like Toronto and San Francisco. There are at least 8,000 homeless people in BC. In Vancouver alone, at least 2,500 people are living in the streets. Another 4,700 live in private SROs where access to COVID-safe washing facilities is not available, and 2,000 in government-owned SROs, where again washing facilities are shared, scarce, and significantly under-maintained. We therefore estimate that there are at least 8,500 people in Vancouver for which it is impossible to follow basic provincial COVID-19 protocol.
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Montréal (Canada): Let them eat paint! De-gentrification action against “3734”

Just over a year ago, a masked crowd looted the yuppie grocery store attached to the “3734” restaurant on Notre-Dame street and redistributed the food to people in the neighborhood, one of dozens of actions against gentrification in recent years. The grocery store shut down several months ago, but we noticed that the 3734 restaurant was still serving business lunches and expensive dinners to local yuppies. So last Wednesday night we paid them a visit, breaking a window and covering the inside of the restaurant with paint, using a fire extinguisher. [Read More]

Balade in Saint-Henri loots expensive grocery store

From Montreal Counter-Info

A balade for de-gentrification took to the streets of Saint-Henri on the evening of May 28, 2016. About 30 people, all in black bloc, strolled down rue Notre-Dame and looted the yuppie boutique grocery store “Le 3734”. As most of the crowd held down the street outside the store, a few people went inside and filled duffel bags with fresh and dry sausages, cheese, maple syrup, and other items. Meanwhile, the storefront was redecorated with graffiti reading ‘Fuck Empire’ and wheatpasted posters that communicated some of the intentions behind the action. After throwing smoke bombs ahead of and behind the crowd on Notre-Dame, people dispersed via the train tracks before police could arrive, and no arrests have been made. In the days that followed, we re-distributed the food to people in the neighborhood who wouldn’t regularly have had access to it. The poster left behind read as follows:

With the arrival of the condos in Saint-Henri, a multitude of expensive businesses, hipster restaurants, and bourgeois grocery stores followed. Nevertheless, despite this affluence of food, the neighborhood remains practically a food desert for people with little money. Such a paradox it is to live in a world that produces so much food, but that isn’t accessible for those who are hungry!

May 28th, we tried to recalibrate things a bit, to the extent of our means. We put on masks to protect our identity, we entered one of these extravagant businesses, we took everything we could and we left to redistribute the goods joyously in the neighborhood. Inspired by the recent actions against the police in different neighborhoods and knowing that they were going to show up to protect the property owners, we brought what we needed to protect ourselves.

Everyone deserves to eat well and there is enough food for everyone! It is with great pleasure that we organized this pillaging, which is a slap in the face to the forces that impoverish and starve us. We invite everyone to do the same!

Long live de-gentrication!

Tonight is the great banquet, we celebrate complicity and abundance!


Now that it’s undeniable: Gentrification in Hamilton 2015

From The Hamilton Institute


For the past several years, we’ve been talking quite a lot about gentrification here in Hamilton. In the current moment, as the vanguard of art galleries decisively give way to boutique shops and condos, as sections of town are repurposed into bedroom communities for people who work in Toronto but can’t afford to live there, what do we mean when we talk about gentrification? Two years ago, even the arts industry fucks could claim, without feeling too dishonest, that they were creating something local and durable. Now we watch their flagship galleries and favourite restaurants close while a Starbucks and McMaster satellite campus open in Jackson Square, with condos going up on all sides. You were the footsoldiers of gentrification – don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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Montreal (Canada): vandalism against gentrification

For several years, the St. Henri neighbourhood has been undergoing many changes: a walk along any part of rue Notre Dame will bring you face to face with the new foodie restaurants, high-end boutiques, art galleries, and “drinkeries” catering to the residents of all the canal-side condos, replacing the dollar stores and flea markets.

Although gentrification of a neighbourhood is more than just new businesses and nice-looking storefronts, we decided to render some of our disgust with gentrification by vandalizing two such examples with fire extinguishers filled with paint. [Read More]

Montreal (Canada): Support demo for those evicted from the Moreau lofts


Monday September 9th, at 6 pm, Metro Prefontaine

On the morning of Friday, Sept 6th, the people occupying the lot next to the Moreau lofts were evicted by the Montreal police, acting on the landlord`s request. The lot, also belonging to the same landlord, was squatted to denounce the eviction of the hundred or so people living in the lofts of 2019 Moreau street. The city had ordered the eviction after safety inspectors judged the building to be dangerous for its occupants.

The building has been unsafe for twenty years while the landlord has allowed the situation to deteriorate. But now that the neighborhood is becoming hip and its no longer just poor people living in it, the situation has changed. That`s why the landlord announced that, after the eviction of the renters, he had the intention to renovate the lofts and to put them up for rent, but this time much more expensive. [Read More]

Ontario (Canada): An Interview with John from Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

Published in “Brisbane From Below” n°1 (Brisbane, 2011).

Justice, Dignity, Resistance: An Interview with John from Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you became involved with OCAP?

I was a worker at a factory in Ontario in the 1980s and, after being made unemployed, I helped form a union of the unemployed. In 1990, this organization helped out in the campaign that led to the formation of OCAP. [Read More]

Occupying housing from the Pope Squat to Occupy Toronto

It was a sweltering afternoon in late July 2002 when the armoured vehicles of the Toronto Police Emergency Task Force pulled up in front of our building. Quickly we started barricading the door with an old desk, if they were coming to kick us out we weren’t going to make it easy for them. We waited tensely as the cops approached the door with submachine guns drawn.

Our crime? We dared to take over an abandoned building in the middle of a housing crisis.

We all survived that early raid and were eventually allowed back into the building where we lived for the next three months — dubbing it the “Pope Squat” as we occupied it during the pontiff’s visit to Toronto.
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Vancouver, Canada: New Book on the Woodsquat

“Woodsquat” – a special issue of West Coast Line (240 pages, $12) Info: 604.682.3269 ext. 7567 / free [at] woodsquat [dot] net /

Who popped Woodwards on September 14th 2002? Why? What happened on the inside? Who were The Woodwards 54? How did they defend a street encampment for 92 days & nights in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver? Who stayed? Who left? Who ended it? What happened afterwards? Will Vancouver ever be business-as-usual again? Which buildings are next?

Writing & interviews on daily life at the squat. Poems, speeches, statements & reports by residents, witnesses & supporters. Call-outs from affinity groups & support organizations. Police reports & the confidential city government memo planning the quiet final eviction. Reproductions of video stills, posters, flyers, graffiti, linocuts, photographs & an 11-page comic. Critical essays on squatting as a tool, gentrification & social housing, electoral politics, addiction & class war, media distortion, legal strategies, the use of demands, and the ongoing struggle.

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Ontario: OCAP takes ‘Gatekeeper’ Squat, MP vows conversion to social housing

** check end of report for details of election night action **

More information and Photos:

OCAP takes ‘Gatekeeper’ Squat, MP vows conversion to social housing

On Saturday, November 8th in the heart of downtown Toronto’s east end, All Saint’s Church was packed with people who came to eat a hot meal and to rally for a demonstration called by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. We had put out a call to take over an abandoned building in a community well aquainted with living in poverty. Over 500 people then took to the streets in a spirited march that made its way through a neighbourhood dense with homeless shelters, low income housing, and parks where people live and die with the reality of how serious the housing crisis in this city really is.

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Ontario: report on OCAP Squat Victory from Arrested Trade Unionist

Note: The one other arrested person is a member of the Steelworkers. In total four people, all trade union members, were arrested yesterday.

Report on OCAP Squat Victory

40 members of CUPE 3903 were among the 500 people who participated in the victorious march and occupation of an abandoned building at 558 Gerrard St. E., securing its conversion into social housing. The action was a victory on two counts: in addition to transforming an empty building into social housing, demonstrators forced the state to respond politically by negotiating with the demonstrators instead of unleashing its uniformed goons. Unequal and inhumane distribution of housing is a political issue that politicians should address through negotiation and dialogue rather than through police violence on unarmed civilians, and this victory should be recognized as a breakthrough in that regard.

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