This is the sixth wave of the pandemic but the first wave of the “living with it” era. How does a city recover when COVID is no longer the single dominant force in our lives, but still very much present? From beleaguered theatre artists to shopkeepers in a Malvern mall, from the TTC to the health care system—a series of stories publishing throughout the spring about individuals and institutions groping their way towards a new kind of equilibrium.
From overworked ECEs to anxious alternative school parents, from teenagers mourning their lost high-school years to elementary school students still learning from cramped apartments—an ongoing series about Toronto kids, the people who teach them, and the state of the education system two years into a global pandemic.
In 2021, the gap between our dated vision of what it means to “have a job” and the patchwork reality of how people earn their living has never been wider. From nurses doing gig work to mothers on EI working under the table, from college instructors to sex workers to nail salon technicians—a series about the way we work today, and how to turn precarious labour into decent work.
With an all-Indigenous roster of writers, photographers and artists, this issue’s stories are presented through the lens of the largest Indigenous population in Ontario. It celebrates art, identity and resilience while looking, sometimes somberly, at the past.
It’s been 12 months since COVID-19 took over our city. The stories in this issue, published throughout the week, aren’t meant to be some grand summing up of the pandemic year that was because, in truth, it's much too soon for a retrospective. They’re snippets of lives lived over a year in Toronto unlike any other—stories about the brave, tough, and sometimes strange ways people have endured.
The suffering during this pandemic didn’t begin with COVID-19 in March—Toronto's vulnerabilities have been showing for decades. This issue tells the story of how we got here. As the city goes into a second lockdown, with a vaccine somewhere on the horizon, it also provides vital context moving forward. We need to know where the cracks are before we can rebuild.
In the first days of the pandemic, an eerie hush fell over Toronto. As the familiar background hum returns, it's worth remembering that the sounds of the city are not neutral or inevitable. How noise, and our clumsy attempts to control and police it, shapes city life.
This pandemic is global, but the way we've experienced it has been hyperlocal. Confined to our neighbourhoods, different communities have been affected by the crisis in vastly different ways. Stories from one hundred days of lockdown across a sprawling city whose divisions have only grown more apparent.
In Toronto last week, a single mom desperately tried to catch a Wi-Fi signal and a justice of the peace gave an exasperated lecture about phone etiquette in virtual court. A PSW broke down in her car and a teenager watched way too much Netflix. Seven stories over seven days—what it felt like during one week of a global pandemic.
Lawrence Heights was built with a fence separating it from its more affluent neighbours. Today, it's the site of Toronto's largest redevelopment, but it remains a neighbourhood misunderstood by the rest of the city. Stories from a community in the midst of a transformation.
The view from Ontario’s prisons—where disease rates are high, lockdown is constant, mental illness is widespread, and the line between the health care system and the justice system seems to get blurrier every day.