Artwork by Marne Grahlman

In this issue

Editor's Letter by Nicholas Hune-Brown

A Year in Toronto

In a year of “unprecedented times,” the world didn’t split apart in ways that were terrifying and new. It cracked along familiar seams, over and over again.

Feature by Kelly Boutsalis

A Year of Indigenous People Helping Indigenous People

In the middle of a pandemic, with multiple crises devastating their community, Nanook Gordon and Brianna Olson Pitawanakwat started a grassroots organization to bring compassion, aid, and culture to Indigenous people on Toronto’s streets.

Essay by John Michael McGrath

A Year Looking at the Numbers

For the last year, seven days a week, I’ve woken up to post the province’s COVID numbers. It turns out people don’t want data—they want someone to tell them how this all ends.

Essay by Max Mertens

A Year on Two Wheels

My father believed that biking was a way to strengthen our communities. In this strange and sorrow-filled year, I’ve tried to follow his path.

Essay by Vanessa Milne

A Year of Kids Playing Pandemic

When COVID-19 leaked into my children’s make-believe games, I worried they were being traumatized. Maybe I’ve been looking at it the wrong way.

Essay by John Semley

A Long Year

As the months stretched on and days became meaningless, I did the natural thing—turned to 800-page novels and 15-hour German movies just to feel the passage of time in all its punishing slowness.

Local voice by Derrick Black

A Year of Resistance in the Moss Park Encampment

Derrick Black, one of the original residents of the Moss Park encampment, survived a year of confrontations with the city, police raids, and extreme weather in his fight for permanent housing. His story in his own words.

Artwork by Eryn Lougheed

In this issue

Investigation by Inori Roy & Tai Huynh

Who’s Actually Running Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes?

Nearly 100 of Ontario’s embattled care homes are run by third-party operators—a management arrangement often invisible to the families of residents. Now, analysis by The Local has found that COVID-19 death rates at facilities outsourced to Extendicare, the largest operator in Ontario, are 81 percent higher than the industry average.

Perspective by Tai Huynh

A Neighbourhood in the Dark

What good is public health information if nobody hears it?

Feature by Simon Lewsen

A Long-Term Tragedy

The devastation in seniors homes during COVID-19 was the predictable result of decades of indifference and neglect. From Victorian poorhouses to sites of mass death—the shameful history of our long-term care system.

Feature by Carlyn Zwarenstein

The Cost of a Stay at a Shelter Hotel

Temporarily housing homeless people in hotels was supposed to protect them during the pandemic. Why are residents overdosing and dying in the isolation of their own rooms?

Photo essay by Yader Guzman

A Congregation Apart

The parishioners at San Lorenzo are a tight-knit group of Latin American immigrants and refugees. When the pandemic forced the church's doors to close, Father Hernan Astudillo decided to bring faith and community to them.

Feature by Inori Roy

The Other Epidemic in Toronto’s Schools

The problems in Toronto’s schools didn’t start with COVID-19—our underfunded education system has been in a slow-motion crisis for decades.

Essay by Furqan Mohamed

A Place for Those Who Raised Us

In many immigrant families, elders are the pillars of the household. With COVID-19 revealing flaws in the way we treat seniors, what can society learn from how different cultures value aging?

Feature by Brannavy Jeyasundaram

What’s Plaguing Toronto’s Ethnic Press?

In a city of immigrants, non-English language newspapers play a critical role in the fight against COVID-19. Can they survive the pandemic?

Feature by Justin Ling

The Hands That Feed Us

Throughout the pandemic, temporary foreign workers have worked in cramped quarters under unsafe conditions to keep our pantries stocked. Is it time they were given a pathway to permanent residency?

Feature by Matthew Braga

Pandemic’s Labyrinth

How Canada’s secretive, byzantine, Cold War-era stockpile system left us unprepared for COVID-19.

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