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One of the best moments in Occupy Toronto’s history was on May 1st. About 30-40 Occupiers showed-up at Queen’s Park, behind the Ontario Legislature, and ‘peasfully’ planted a communal vegetable garden that day. The Toronto police were very well-restrained, they stood back quietly while Occupiers poured out the soil and planted the seeds. When it was finished, everyone began to celebrate- singing “Give Peas A Chance”.
Beyond the fact this was a peaceful and positive event, there was one more amazing thing about the garden- the City of Toronto tolerated the garden’s presence all through the summer. Considering all of the conflict between the city and Occupiers, many people saw this as a symbolic move that the city may be willing to cooperate more with Occupiers.
The garden was lovingly tended to by the Occupiers. People would carry jugs of water to the park to keep it alive through the summer heat. Weeds were picked, sticks were placed for the plants to creep up on. There was a lot of love put into the garden- as I said back in May, it was civil disobedience that most people could agree with.
An event was planned for Saturday to harvest the garden- but, it never came to pass.
Why? Well, for unknown reasons, the city decided to dig-up the garden on the day before the harvest. There’s a lot of speculation that the city did this as an intentional provocation- but, this hasn’t been proven yet. I’ll be calling the city and asking for an official statement tomorrow.
Regardless of whether it was intentional or not, this was a massive fail for Toronto. The garden was an opportunity for the city to show activists that, when they are peaceful, the city is ready to cooperate. This is a massive step backwards in my opinion- the city needs to make an apology…