Jane Street and Woolner Ave

I grew up in Toronto, Ontario Canada. For those who don’t know where Toronto is, it is located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. It is the most multicultural city in Canada.  It is the provincial capital of Ontario. It’s where everything happens.

This is the place that I immigrated to at the age of 5 and left at the age of 29. It is the city that I am trying to desperately move back to.  My current community is not home anymore.

I grew up at Jane Street and Woolner Ave in a high-rise building. We lived on the fourteenth floor. As a child, I thought my street was the safety place in the world. The kids I hung out with and grew up with had tons of freedom. We would leave our apartments in the morning and not return until dinner time.  We got in tons of trouble.

The illusion that my street was safe changed when I was 12. The year I was raped by two men on my way home from the corner store. As soon as I could get away, I did. I never looked back.

As an adult, I found out that my street was a well-known area for dealing drugs. I was shocked because I never saw that part of my community. Now when I do look back at my childhood, I do recall things that were a bit….odd.

There were always guys hanging out at this one store, they were there everyday.  All day long. They never left to go to work or to go anywhere else.

Also, I recall coming home from vacation one summer to hear about a man who lived in my building who had killed himself, his wife and his child. He left another child alone in the apartment with the dead bodies. He jumped in front of a train. I am not sure if this was true or not.  But that was the rumour.

So, as I write this I am interested to know if anything has changed about my childhood community.  I haven’t been back since I was 18 and now I am in my forties.  I found out that:

“Jane and Woolner is home to many new immigrants from various backgrounds, this area was once ruled by drug and gang activity, but now is slowly emerging from its troubled past. The main gang inhabiting the area are the South Side Gatorz as well as their subset the Junior Gatorz, but members of transnational Hispanic gangs such as the Latin Kings as well as MS-13 have been known to frequent the Woolner Apartments as well.”  If you want to read more, click here.

I am shocked that there was gang activity. It’s funny how your world is so small when you’re a child, and you see what you want to see and nothing else.  Jane Street.  Woolner Ave.  I don’t think I will be going back there anytime soon.

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