Toronto is known for having neighbourhoods that are vastly different and totally unique. Looking from east to west in the city, each area is distinctly known for a certain reason or niche.
One thing that also comes with being a Torontonian is a pride of the part of the city that you come from. Considering that Toronto is the biggest city in Canada, it's nice to align yourself with your neighbourhoods hominess.
I lived in Toronto for 3 years I only spend time in one neighbourhood like a true Torontonian.
For just under 40,000 Torontonians that neighbourhood is none other than Parkdale, located around the tail end of Queen West. Yet sadly, the residents of this neighbourhood are currently dealing with a messy situation.
The people of Parkdale cannot be reduced down to a sentence due to the incredibly unique nature of the neighbourhood.
That's because the area is incredibly diverse but also one of the remaining parts of the city to be mostly untouched by gentrification and crazy high rental prices. There are tons of amazing restaurants, cute bars, and local Parkdale legends that make you feel like you're at home because they are not super modern.
Of course, like any big city, there are new developments that are earning Parkdale a new reputation and the locals are definitely not fans of it.
It's affectionately been dubbed "Vegandale" but it's safe to say that the people of Parkdale are pissed.
I love seeing vegan restaurants open up in Toronto but I don’t love seeing corporations gentrify the lovely neighbourhood I live in under the guise of ethical living/eating. vegandale is a shitshow.
The neighbourhood's residents have been quick to comment online about how much they really hate the new perception of the neighbourhood. The current state of disgust comes from the jacked up prices in these establishments.
Vegandale is like veganism’s version of white feminism. Here’s a wild idea: be compassionate to animals while not displacing communities already fighting to survive. https://t.co/Yupf6MhyQi
I am just now learning about this #Vegandale bullshit. I am staring to become ashamed to live in Toronto. Are you idiots/ hypocrites for real? Tell me this is a joke.
#vegandale is one block of a beautiful, interesting and yes, STRUGGLING neighbourhood. Putting a “You’re not ethical unless you buy this beer” message on your products is so. Fucking. Stupid. And tone-deaf. And arrogant.
While the gentrification is enough to piss off the people of Parkdale, including the newest expansion with the Vegandale Brewery, it wasn't even the icing on the cake.
Nothing has set people off more than the Vegandale block party event coming up this weekend, so much so that its sent locals spiralling in anger.
In fact, it's receiving so much hate that they actually began blocking people who were commenting negatively on their Facebook event.
Shameless/arrogant #vegandale marketing team holding a block party 2 celebrate gentrification of #parkdale. Sidewalks r public spaces 4 the community. Block parties r put on by residents not a corporate entitiy. #getlostdoomies #gentrification #cluelesshttps://t.co/co6N058a5W pic.twitter.com/bLYmHiGVf6
Vegandale blocked me from their block party event on FB for posting in the discussion that they should listen to residents. Isn't that ironic? They blocked a few people from our "South Parkdelians" FB group https://t.co/OHISvwxqhr
The stretch between Brock Avenue and Dufferin Street is the area that's home to all the vegan establishments and will be affected by the block party. Now the whole community is worried that this kind of association is going to make people forget about the real Parkdale.
It's increased so much that there is going to be a neighbourhood forum hosted this Saturday for members of the community to come and air out their concerns about the vegan takeover in the area.
In the Instagram caption for the rally, the community already has two demands. That they want the vegan block party to be cancelled until further discussion within the community and that the Vegandale brand is removed from the area and discontinued indefinitely.
The event encourages more community members, such as businesses or residents, come out and make their voices clear. It would also give the concerned members of Parkdale an opportunity to discuss greater demands.
This has been bugging me more than it should so I've made a decision: I'm not going to be supporting businesses in "#Vegandale" for a while, and I really wish they'd stop referring to Parkdale AS "Vegandale." The obnoxious insistence on erasing Parkdale has to stop.
While the situation only grows tenser, some city residents have been commenting on how Vegandale could actually benefit the Parkdale community. Others have been quick to declare that the neighbourhood is overreacting to four businesses in the neighbourhood strip.
Things #Vegandale businesses can do to help the neighbourhood instead of using it:
•Hold/sponsor fundraisers for CAMH
•Donate excess foods to shelters
•Patricipate in local activism and support activist groups
•Publicly prioritize hiring Parkdale residents
Doug McNish (part of the Vegandale group) does a lot of fundraising for the Toronto Vegetarian Food Bank and is very involved with the community at large. Members of Parkdale use that food bank, too...
Parkdale will always be Parkdale. Parkdale is more than 3-4 business at Queen & Brock including a self-styled ‘morally superior’ vegan brewery. The only mentions of ‘Vegandale’ I see are on the signs of those businesses and local interest blog posts. Long live Parkdale.
While it's hard to see where how the feud between Parkdale and Vegandale will end, the fight is only getting started. It sure looks like the neighbourhood is going to put up one hell of a fight.