A quick poll of women shoppers at The Stop’s Wychwood Barns’ Farmers Market on March 7, 2015 revealed that, on the whole, there is a strong sense that the neighborhood’s public spaces are safe.
The ravine south of St. Clair (see 6) was the most commonly avoided place due to its dense woods, narrow path and steep drop from the street level.
Several sites where lanes lead to secluded and sheltered spaces between buildings (see 1, 2 & 7) and the long flight of steps from Davenport to (Glenholme see 10) were thought to be problematic for the way they attracted “smoking groups”.
Two St. Clair intersections, Oakwood and Dufferin (see 8 & 9), were mentioned as having specific corners where tough-looking young adults lingered, effectively changing the “feel” of the street.
Several women mentioned that, while they would not be frightened to go north of St. Clair to Oakwood Village and further north to Eglinton avenue, they felt the businesses there catered to a different demographic.
Lastly, the Exit/Entrance to the St. Clair W. subway station at the south end of St. Clair is avoided by several women for its long, isolated tunnel, its entrance that offers shelter to transients and its proximity to the ravine.
To mark International Women’s Day, I took selfies at the identified sites so inserting myself into a composite map of hard-to-put-into words unease.
“During the day it’s fine but the men’s shelter attracts very different people at night.”
“It freaks me out. It feels like a tube of danger because it’s enclosed and empty.”
“there’s often men sitting there smoking and hanging out there”
” I wouldn’t go on my own or with my young daughter during the day and definitely not at night. North of Loblaws the ravine is more heavily traveled and there’s more visibility.”
“High school age smoking groups gather here especially at night because it’s hidden yet steps from St. Clair.”
“The Pizza Pizza and the Convenience Store beside the bus stop makes this a youth hang-out corner that makes me sometimes uneasy.”
“A mysteriously named “drug dispensing” outlet becomes crowded each afternoon with young men milling around on the sidewalk.”
“The steps aren’t well lit perhaps that’s why young people find it a great place to smoke and drink.”
“I don’t go west or north along Oakwood. I can see it’s a different demographic.”