Graf­fiti on glass wall ex­as­per­ates com­mu­nity

Toronto Star - - GREATER TORONTO - JACK LAKEY SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR

Graf­fiti is a lot like a cock­roach: no mat­ter what you do, it de­fies all at­tempts to get rid of it.

The scrawl of graf­fiti artists is so ubiq­ui­tous that many peo­ple barely no­tice it. But oth­ers see it as a per­va­sive blight and an early warn­ing sign of dis­or­der and ur­ban de­cay.

Among them is Den­nis Long, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Break­away Addiction Ser­vices, a drug re­cov­ery clinic on tiny Strick­land Ave., near the large rail­way over­pass at Queen and Duf­ferin Sts.

The build­ing that houses the clinic is bright and spot­less in­side and out, a pri­or­ity for Long. So, when he looks out on the graf­fiti splashed across a big glass wall next to the fa­cil­ity, it bugs him.

The glass wall was built in the past year and is meant to in­su­late the sur­round­ing neigh­bour­hood from the sound of trains in the rail­way cor­ri­dor that slices through the area, which is op­er­ated by Metrolinx.

“Re­la­tion­ships with our neigh­bours in this res­i­den­tial area are of great con­cern to us,” he said in an email. “Some­time this spring, a great deal of graf­fiti ap­peared on the glass sec­tion of the wall be­hind our park­ing lot. In June I called Metrolinx. Af­ter en­sur­ing the mark­ings were not of­fen­sive (i.e. racist etc.), they said they will re­move it but it would take some time. It is now Novem­ber, and de­spite a few email re­minders noth­ing has been done.” Sta­tus: Metrolinx spokesper­son Anne Marie Aikins said the clear glass wall has be­come a mag­net for tag­gers. She said the graf­fiti has been re­moved at least once since the wall was erected, but within days it was tagged again. With hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres of walls that sep­a­rate rail lines from houses in the GTA, it’s hard to keep up with the graf­fiti, she noted. But the wall is sched­uled for a cleanup this week, Aikins added. What’s bro­ken in your neigh­bour­hood? Wher­ever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. To con­tact us, go to thes­tar.com/your­toronto/the_­fixer or email jlakey@thes­tar.ca.

JACK LAKEY/TORONTO STAR

Ever since the sound bar­rier near Duf­ferin and Queen Sts. was built, it has of­ten been van­dal­ized.

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