I live downtown Toronto and I think if you live in the core of any big city you get to know it’s crazies. The same people you see now and again in their haunts who add flavour to any walk outside. And Toronto, if anywhere, has certainly got some notable people.
Hood: Corner of Yonge and Dundas
Fuck, this guy even has a meme floating around on the internet. An old grumpy man who stands on the corner, waits for a huge group to pass by or to be inches away from your ear and yells “Belieeeeeeve in the Lord“.
One time I saw another man, a homeless schizophrenic with tourettes who constantly mumbles a stream of “fuckingjesuschristfuckingcatholicchurchgod’sasonofabitchfuckingjesuschrist” bump into the Believe in the Lord guy and…..the world exploded in a moment of fuck awesome craziness.
Hood: Queen West
One of the street punks who always has plaint splattered on him and usually has an accordion and WWI flight goggles strapped to his head. Nomad from Newfoundland who has interesting paintings and art projects and usually the best cardboard signs.
Hood: Queen West
Dogfood Dave is famous and quite well-liked amongst the homeless and street kids in this neighbourhood. He’s famous for his two dogs, one which only has three legs. He actually owns a small squatter’s house and rents out rooms to other kids on the street, and the rent he asks for is a bag of dog food every month. This man loves his dogs and will do anything for them.
Hood: Eaton Center and Yonge Street
This man isn’t homeless, but if you’ve lived in TO for any amount of time you’ve probably seen him around, especially on the TTC. A slim, black man who’s always impeccably dressed in a powder blue suit, matching fedora, sunglasses and a motherfucking pimp cane. And bling. Lots of bling. I have no idea if he’s a real pimp or not, but he’s one classy dressed motherfucker.
Hood: Yonge street, College/Dundas area
Hogarth is the skinnest man I’ve ever seen, he looks West Indian and has a shock of white hair. He’s usually barefoot and wanders around mumbling and growling unintelligibly or singing to himself. When he asks for change he scares people because he’s obviously high on crack and has a gravelly voice. Most people don’t understand what he’s even asking for. He also has the best hair that he likes to stick pencils and other random garbage he finds into it. His story is a little sad, he is an addict who’s been turned out onto the streets, but to see him dancing and singing to a song in his own head without giving a single fuck makes me smile.
Hood: Yonge street, usually outside the McDonald’s north of College
Ryan’s a younger guy who always sits with a spread of speed ink paintings and other artwork. I bought a painting of an octopus from him once. Polite, little rough around the edges, he’s working towards going to OCAD and getting custody of his daughter Autumn back. Ask him about it and he’ll show you the picture he drew of her.
Hood: Kensington Market
I don’t know where this woman came from, but you’ll usually see her around Kensington or Yonge street. She’s an older, busty blonde who’s always wearing a pink cowboy hat and pink princess sunglasses. She’s usually riding a children’s bicycle that’s also pink and has pink streamers coming from the handles.
Hood: Yonge Street, between Bloor and College
An old woman, who I think is Russian, who always wanders around with a walker, wearing a headscarf, long grey witch hair and is constantly screaming and cursing. She sometimes has a smoke in her hand, folds and cranes into so many angles she looks like a broken Jack-in-the-box and has an unfortunate tendency to spit on people. I never understand what she’s saying, but it sounds like an ancient curse to me.