Living Shangri-La

A million dollars isn't actually all that expensive for a decent home in Toronto – it's not at all difficult to find examples of the disparity in wealth in the city. But in the same way that the poorest in North America lives far above the global poverty level of $2 a day, those who experience hardship in downtown Toronto are still in a more livable city, with better services, amenities, and options, than those who live in the poorer areas of the Toronto suburbs.


Occupy Saint James Park

There are a couple of things that seem a little out of joint with the "Occupy" movement coming to Canada. One is that it's created out of an American experience, where the non-wealthy are systematically and institutionally screwed in ways that just aren't happening in Canada. The other is that despite the slogans, we here in Canada – and the USA, and western Europe – aren't the 99%. We are the top 10% that controls over 70% of the global wealth. Yes, The System needs massive changes, but we're also the bad guys who are keeping everyone else down.

But these people in their rain slickers are doing more about it than I am, no matter how much long-term impact they have.

The Occupy protest was also interesting for its lack of something to rally against. Normally, protesters face the building: City Hall, Queen's Park, the mining company, the hotel, the bank, the university. Day One of the Occupy encampment was mostly people gathered around listening to drum-and-guitar jam sessions, or small groups standing apart waiting for people to photograph their clever signs. Usually it wasn't a long wait – and I desperately hope that someone caught a picture of me as I was taking the second one in this set.

I have been considering breaking out some of my scrap bristol board and joining them for a few hours. I already know that my sign would read:

There are straws.
There are camels.
And there are backs.

When else will I have a chance to use that?



I go to a park and take photos of the supplies for rebuilding the parking lot.


Remembering Jack Layton

Photographs from Toronto City Hall, 27 August 2011.


Yonge and Dundas (three in monochrome)

More from playing with my little camera. I bought the more expensive model with rangefinder focusing, and all of these have used the scale focusing that the cheaper models are designed for.

Still, there's something to be said for having the better one.


Chinatown (three in monochrome)

I'm not really into the Cultural Tourism photos these days, and I'm very self-concious of using a camera in public, but I've recently gained a little tiny 35mm camera and needed to try it out.

And the third photo in this set is weak, but the first two aren't strong enough to stand on their own, so certain compromises needed to be made.

I have broken the links to hundreds and hundreds of photos, which will take a long time to repair. The workaround is to replace "photo.matthewpiers" in the link URL with "matthewpiers.smugmug". Awkward, but only temporary.

This is happening because I have revamped matthewpiers dot com. More of what I write and photograph will be going there, so check it out as well.

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