Week 12- Comment



Okay, so now that the strike is over, I think this is a good time to post the FAQs for students who are curious about whats next and how to proceed. I found that during the strike when I was directed to look at this site, it didn’t seem to help at all! But now their answer make sense and I think are sufficient enough!
But I don’t agree with the university riseing tuition fees for next year. We are already paying a huge amount that will put us in debt for several years after we finish school and start a career. To me, university is run as like an institution, we all have numbers and no university official with higher power than a Prof or Ta actually cares for our education! I feel almost cheated because university is supposed to be a place of higher learning, where we go to advance ourselves and the world but here students are only recognized as a source of income, which the strike has clearly proven! In future years, I hope that our education is handled with more care! (Thanks for reading my rant.)

– Elizabeth Weber


Week 12- Link


I believe that mental and physical health are more important than achieving high grades in high school and post- secondary school. The amount of pressure and stress put on students today is unhealthy and has been the cause of many people’s death. This issue is closely related to me because I went to high school with someone who has recently passed away due to educational pressures and stresses. So, in the time of stressful exams, take care of yourself first!

Week 12- Event

I recently attended a leadership event called IN2U held by Innis College. This event had guest speakers, activities and workshops for aspiring leaders and mentors to learn from. The activity we played was supposed to represent everyone in society holding a specific ranking and how we are able to influence those around us with the power we have. I was ‘middle-class’ throughout the entire activity, so I hold some power but not enough. The leaders who held the most power could choose to make decision that effected everybody negatively or positively. But, luckily they chose to benefit everyone when they made their final decisions.
This activity reminded me of when we went to City Hall. I realized how much power municipal leaders had. It was difficult to fathom that people who represented me and were in control of my surrounding could act so carelessly and disrespectfully when it came to imprint issues that concerned the population! It made me frustrated when I saw how much power they had and were abusing it, just as in the activity when I had ideas that benefited everyone but they weren’t being considered. This field trip to City Hall was irritating and frustrating but gave me hope that one day I can influence others with my power.

Week 12- Main

The three most significant things I’ve learned throughout the creation of my blog has been these three overlapping topics:
1. Food insecurity
2. Income gaps
3. How blogging can be used in civic life

I had no idea what food insecurity even meant before Christina Palassio came to talk to our class about this issue. This was one of my favourite classes because I was so interested in the topic. Becoming aware of this brought a new incite into how I look at my city and those around me. Food insecurity is not having access to affordable, healthy food (a huge problem on the rise). The fact that I wasn’t aware of this issue also adds my curiosity of why I don’t know about this? I wanted to know more! Becoming aware of this made me think differently about how systems function within Toronto.
Income gaps is also another topic I became seriously interested in. Income gaps are visibility divided into ‘the three cities’ of Toronto. These three cities within Toronto separates people into distinct districts where people of higher income and lower income live. This is a huge issue because the people who rank in a higher income have services available to themselves while the lower income people are forced onto the outskirts of the city, not having the same accessibility to basic services such as healthy and affordable food. This directly correlates to food insecurity because these income gaps are the result of people not having access to healthy food.This creates food deserts where people of lower income have no accessibility to healthy and affordable food where areas of higher income have a huge populations of good grocery stores. Before reading about this topic I was unaware of the problem and going about my day down town (the higher income area) without thinking. I believe that there needs to be equally no matter how much income one has. The basic need of having food shouldn’t be an issue for Torontonians.
I found that having Matt Elliot talk to our class about using blogging in civic life very useful! I discovered that blogging can be an important aspect in capturing political news but also using it to document everyday life or share information. Having access to a blog allows for an easy and efficient way to spread information as well as acquire knowledge. Coming into this class I didn’t know how this could relate outward into my life but Elliot brought a perspective I haven’t seen before. This class gave me an outlet to write but write about things that mattered and effected everyone.

In 5 years from now I hope to still remember to think critically about where I live. Remembering that I have a voice and power within my community will bring change and justice to those who suffer under political and social injustices.
This will not be my last post; I will continue to be aware of social justice issues withinToronto and have an active voice. My knowledge and awareness of these issues will continue to grow as I look for rising issues that need attention. My future goal is to advocate social equality through my power within my community by sharing important links and articles to my blog. My blogging experience has showed me new ways to make social concern relatable and (moslty) accessible to most. It’s important and my duty as a citizen of Toronto to share my knowledge on issues that effect everyone.
Thanks to everyone who read my blog and followed me for these amazing 12 weeks!

Week 11- Main

This week my class took a walk through down town Toronto; we examined and analyzed public and private spaces.
Before the trip I thought that public space was only for moving through, but this trip gave me new perspectives. Public space can be used for much more. People gather together in public space, forming a sense of community and one with the city. Events are held in public spaces such as parades, festivals, entertainment, etc. But we can incorporate social justice into public spaces by having protests and advocating for public issues. An example is the recent strike held on campus. The TAs marched in public space at the University of Toronto to advocate for their right to a higher salary. And the strike at York University, the TAs marched from York campus, through the streets, all the way to UofT campus.
Walking through Toronto’s downtown areas, I believe that are public space is not being used to its full capacity. I was introduced to areas I have never seen before therefore proving that not everybody in the city knows about it; a.k.a. its not being used, only walked through without knowledge that its constructed from more than one purpose. Only the major areas like Dundas Square, The Eaton Centre, The Path etc. are being used because they are promoted as major tourist sites. Comparing it to the advertising of smaller parks and public areas, there is almost no advertising. Why would the city even create these smaller areas if they aren’t going to promote Toronto residents and tourists to visit them?
I think to fully maximize the capacity of Toronto’s public areas there needs to be advertising to acquire more people into these areas. Such advertising can be done in the form of an events or music festival held by the city. Inciting people to these areas will make use of the space while expanding the knowledge of Toronto’s public space usage. The fact is that people just don’t know such spaces exist.

Based on my personal experience of the trip I now look at public and private spaces differently. I now see that public spaces are meant for everyone, meaning that we all have the same human right to use the space provided for us. I used to feel very uncomfortable when I would walk past homeless people on the street but now I think that they do have a right to be there and share the space I also use. I also feel more grateful for public areas because I realized that they were built for me to use as well as others. These areas are not just created to make the city look good. Public space brings a sense of oneness with the community and others in Toronto; it something I share with everyone.

The reading “Street life: youth, culture and competing uses of public space” also helps to define public spaces and outlines the issues of inclusion. I’s neatly summed up by Gill Valentine in this article written by Karen Malone:
“Public space therefore is not produced as an open space, a space where teenagers are freely able to participate in street life or define their own ways of interacting and using space, but is a highly regulated – or closed – space where young people are expected to show deference to adults and adults’ definitions of appropriate behaviour, levels of voices, and so on – to use the traditional saying: ‘Children should be seen and not heard’.”
Even though its considered public space by all, there is the problem of accepting others within this type of space. It’s important for young adults to express themselves in public space, it creates an identity and they learn to make decisions without parental guidance (Malone. 2002). Adults will stereotype adolescences because of the way they express themselves. Typically, it is often negative stereotyping that happens thus leading the media to portray a certain group incorrectly which influences everybody.
Public space is important for a city and it’s residents. In these areas we are able to form community, inclusivity and the identity of one’s self and one’s city. But this doesn’t come without social issues, how can we avoid these negative outcomes of public space?
Malone, Karen. “Street Life: Youth, Culture and Competing Uses of Public Space.” SAGE Journals. 1 Oct. 2002. Web. 29 Mar. 2015. http://eau.sagepub.com/content/ 14/2/157.full.pdf+html

Week 11- Link


I thought this was a great link and initiative for young adults to consider. The amount of water they use everyday per person in incredible and ridiculous comparing it to countries where they appreciate their water consumption. Taking care of our environment is a challenge for a lot of people including myself because we often take the earth for granted. This event seems to reconnect ourselves with the earth to live a cleaner, healthier life. Even though this is at Western University, I think that we could do something like this here, at UofT! I would defiantly sign up for a challenge like this, would you?

Week 10- Main

Toronto is composed of three distinct areas serrated by income and economic dynamics, much like three different cities all called Toronto. In City 1( down town), income has increased 20% or more compared to City 3 where the income has decreased 20% or more!
The issue raising from this division is the Public Transit gap. Toronto’s popular but unsatisfactory public transit is concentrated in down town core separating the high income area from the lower income areas. The higher income areas have more accessibility to food, well paying jobs and services while the suburban areas located further away from Toronto’s down town where the is less accessibility to these types of services. (Martin Prosperity Institute, 2011). In this higher income neighbourhood, residents are able to purchase and afford cars but have public transit also available for their use while the lower income area’s residents struggle more to afford a vehicle while having difficulties with the public transit. This geographical division of public transit doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Based off the three readings from this week, I believe Toronto needs to construct more Public Transit throughout the city. Mobilizing the low income areas gives opportunities such as “connections to employment, social networks, public and private goods and services that have been repeatedly and consistently demonstrated to be social determinants of health” (Wray, 2013).
The low- income neighbourhood would have potential to increase the economic status and income. Bridging these gaps with more TTC options allows our city to develop and become connected, eventually eliminating this division. But how much would this expansion cost the city?

Contributing to the theme of my blog, Wray talks about The Gender Effect. This captures the life expectancy of males and females who commute everyday to work.
“For men, the association between commute and life expectancy was insignificant but, for women, the effect was significant, particularly those of low income and low education (Wray, 2013).
This shows a clear connection between transportation and health for someone who lives with a lower income. Depending on the type of job also affects how these women are mollie throughout the city. Women in service jobs are more likely to depend on the TTC and if they have a male partner and a vehicle the man’s job will take priority over the women’s job leading her take public transit. This demonstrates unfair advantages and privileges that men have over women. These service jobs that women hold typically end the day in rush hour, giving the women no choice but to take transit during the busiest time of the day.
Wray continues by saying that public transit isn’t designed in favour of women with low income jobs.

Personally, I find The Gender Effect super interesting! Prior to reading this I thought public transit was crappy for everyone but now my perspective on this gap has shifted. Not only are these women having low income jobs but they also have to commute which effects their overall health and life expectancy.
Toronto’s public transit needs improvements. I think the city should build more to connect the “three cities” then work on improving the overall efficiency. This way the huge issue of the economic gap is fixed before we refurbish the high income area. This only seems fair, right?


Martin Prosperity Institute. (2011). Transit deserts and Hulchanski’s three cities. In Martin Prosperity Institute. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://martinprosperity.org/images/stories/jmc/cache/mpi-transit-deserts-hulchanskis-three-cities.pdf

Wray, R. (2013, October). The spatial trap: Exploring equitable access to public transit as a social determinant of health. In Wellesley Institute. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/The-Spatial-Trap.pdf

Week 10- Guest

The University of Toronto has been going through a long and difficult strike put forth by the TAs. This strike has impacted not only them but the entire University!

The TAs are on strike because they are not being paid a decent living salary and are demanding more time to marks their students work and more prep time for tutorials. I am in complete agreement with them! I think every human being as the right to make enough money to support themselves and their family. But at the same time, I find it very frustrating and stressful, just as many others feel, because I do most of my learning in my tutorial classes led by my TAs and I am not able to attend them. I started falling behind in lecture because I am not understanding the material. I study with friends but they seem to not grasp the concepts either without guided practice. Now, this has left the students worrying about exams because they start in two weeks!

A couple days ago an administrator came into one of my classes and dealt with some of our worries. He said that from here on out, the strike can only benefit our grades. They are allowing us privileges that we would not have had before, such has extending due dates, credit/no- credit/ dropping courses options, automatic top-ups on assignments and papers. This part of the strike I like; it gives us, the students more time to finish our work while relieving some stress.

This week there was a Campus-wide walk out, where everyone in their classes walked out at 12 o’clock in support of their TAs in solidarity. We protested outside of Simcoe Hall; there was food, music, signs and the news to podcast this event. This protest went well because there was graffiti outside the Hall the next day! We clearly made an impact. But this didn’t last long because the strike is still on- going.

All of UofT hopes this strike will end with peace, respect and everyone will be happy in the end. As of right now, I cannot say when this could potentially end but right now we are getting through the best way we can.


-Abbigayle Weber