Canada's major cities have faced the humanitarian disaster of homelessness for decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare a massive deficit in social programs and widespread inattention to human rights. Are municipal public services designed to essentially produce displacement? Or can we do something to end the growing problem of urban homelessness in Canada?
In Displacement City, outreach worker Greg Cook and street nurse Cathy Crowe illuminate this infrastructure of displacement through prose, poetry, and photography. Contributors to the book, including those with lived experience of homelessness in Toronto, report on the realities of the situation and how people responded: by providing disaster-relief supplies and tiny shelters for encampments, by advocating for shelter-hotels where people could physically distance, by taking the city to court, and by rising up against encampment evictions. The book provides particular insight into policies affecting Indigenous peoples and how the legacy of colonialism and displacement reached a critical point during the pandemic.
About the authors
Greg Cook lives in Saint John, New Brunswick. His biography One Heart, One Way / Alden Nowlan: A Writer’s Life was published by Pottersfield Press. His latest book of poetry, Songs of the Wounded: new and selected poems, was publshed by Black Moss. He edited Alden Nowlan: Essays on His Works for Guernica Editions. He is currently writing a biography of another friend, novelist Ernest Buckler, whose novel The Mountain and the Valley is a seminal Canadian classic.
Cathy Crowe is a recipient of the Order of Canada and a pioneer of street nursing. She is currently a public affiliate in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University. She has fostered numerous coalitions and advocacy initiatives that have achieved significant public policy victories, including the 1998 Disaster Declaration. She is the author of A Knapsack Full of Dreams and Dying for a Home and producer of the Home Safe documentary series. Her work is the subject of the documentary Street Nurse, by filmmaker Shelley Saywell.
Robyn Maynard is an award-winning author and Black feminist. Her published works include Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present (Fernwood, 2017), a national bestseller, as well as numerous works published in academic and trade anthologies. She has a long history of involvement supporting grassroots activism against racial profiling, incarceration, detention, and deportation in Toronto and Montreal, and is currently a Vanier Scholar at the University of Toronto.
Shawn Micallef is a senior editor at Spacing magazine and co-founder of [murmur], the location-based mobile-phone documentary project. He writes about cities, culture, buildings, art, and whatever is interesting in books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers.
Marlena Zuber makes maps, illustrates books and magazines and is a member of the glam-pop indie band Tomboyfriend. She also assists in running the non-profit art program, Creative Works Studio. In 2008, Marlena partnered with writer Stacey May Fowles to produce the illustrated novel Fear of Fighting.