Just in case you haven’t noticed, I love my city, and I love, love, love my neighbourhood. It is a thriving, bustling, vibrant area filled with parks and schools, stores and restaurants. The Junction also rubs up against Bloor West Village and Roncesvalles Village; two other happening ‘hoods. There is one problem, though, with so many young families, so many children, living and shopping and playing here, energizing these neighbourhoods. It’s not cheap to live in such a wonderful urban setting, and the parents of these families need to work. But there is no daycare! I mean, sure, there’s some. Two-year wait lists are standard, though, and most parents are left scrambling at the end of a one-year maternity/parental leave. The demand is such that one new daycare that opened had the gall to charge over 50% more than the citywide standard for quality daycare. Because they can. The solution is obvious. We need more daycares.
I could barely believe it, then, when I came upon this Toronto Star story yesterday. My city councillor, Bill Saundercook, pushed through a one year moratorium on new day nurseries on High Park Ave. High Park is a grand old street with enormous old homes that are perfect for nurseries. There is currently one in operation, just barely north of Bloor St. (one of the city’s main arteries) and across from a subway station. Teddy Bear Academy was set to open at 167 High Park and is the precipitating factor in this year-long prohibition. There is, apparantly, some plan for another to open a couple blocks up the street, too. A vocal minority of extremely affluent home owners on High Park Avenue, however, were able to persuade Saundercook that their right to a quiet neighbourhood should come before the vast majority of constituents’ access to child care. I read the article and thought, alright, let me twitter that.
At 3pm I noticed that neighbourhood blogger and organizer extradonaire, Irina Yu of Junction Parents, was teaming up with Alison of the High Park & Roncesvalles Mom’s meetup group to stage an impromptu stroller march protest outside Saundercook’s office at 4pm. Well, you know I twittered that. More than once. I then set about scrambling to get my children ready to go while spreading the word on Facebook, too, and learning that the Toronto Star would be reporting on and sending a photographer to our protest. And then, the rain. Just when we were about to leave I pulled out raincoats and boots and a rain cover for the double stroller and I even found an umbrella for myself at the last minute. It wasn’t even that much past 4:00 when I left home. In the end, though, the rain and the ridiculously short notice won out and the turnout was pretty dissappointing.
The photographer did come, though, and a reporter called us. So we will do it again! And you’ll join us, won’t you? Today! At 4pm! Meet outside Bill Saundercook’s office at 17 St. John’s Road at Dundas Street West. (Take the Junction 40 from Dundas West Station by TTC.) Also, go to Junction Parents and copy the letter so nicely drafted by Lindsay Viets-Moore and send it over to Saundercook. Or write your own. And please spread the word.
Oh, and can you twitter that?