Earlier this year, a 74-year old man named Ted (last name unknown) died in a Vancouver Tim Hortons. It was learned after his death that the coffee shop was actually the place Ted called home for the final 10 years of his life.
Living in major cities comes with a major price tag and it's one that many Canadians cannot afford. This issue now has been driving Canada's homeless population to dwell in coffee shops for safety and somewhere to call home.
A 74-year-old man spent his final hours in a spot where he had spent much of the last years of his life: at a nook in a Vancouver Tim Hortons. He is said to have been slumped there for several hours before he was noticed. https://t.co/ojzc35wz7F via @MichelleGhsoub & @nairoshini pic.twitter.com/5vJPztzham— CBC British Columbia (@cbcnewsbc) June 4, 2018
For Ted, his pension did not cover enough to afford a home in Vancouver, so he passed through Tim Hortons for sleep and security. He was known to both employees and regulars in the shop.
In fact, Ted was so well known to the employees that it took multiple hours for people to notice that he had passed away.
PadMapper released a report that compared average rental costs for one-bedroom apartments across Canada. They ranked Vancouver and Toronto to the two most expensive rental cities in the country.
The average rent for a one bedroom in Vancouver came in at $2090 per month with Toronto only following $20 behind at $2070 per month.
Numerous cases in Canada have proven that the rising costs of city living are driving people to take shelter elsewhere. The Ryerson students in Toronto know Jay, the man who frequents a Tim Hortons on campus, who was displaced by planter boxes this past winter.
The planter boxes were installed specifically with the intention that they would become a deterrent to get Jay off the street.
In the city of Pickering, Ontario, which has a population of 91,000, they too have experienced homeless dwelling in coffee shops and libraries. City Councillor Maurice Brenner said that they've been frequenting fast-food and coffee shops more this year with all their belongings in tow.
She said that regularly they have their belongings wrapped in garbage bags to guard them against the elements. Brenner continued, "It reflected loneliness and desperation, the green garbage bag said it all."
For many of the poorest people living in Canadian cities rising home costs become unattainable, meaning government assistance is the only option they have. With waiting lists and unit shortages, many people don't have options but to freshen up in a coffee shop bathroom.
Without social programming and housing put in place for those who are most vulnerable, there is no doubt that we will continue to see an increase in deaths in public spaces that people call home.