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At the Long Branch loop


At the Longbranch terminal, passengers say the waiting room smells of urine, which is why Ani, a private nurse, sits on a stone wall.


Leslie Scrivener Feature Writer

It is the end of the line. For westbound travellers on the Queen 501 streetcar. For the Kingsboro cab drivers, idling without fares. For the vagrant slumped in the waiting room.

There's a blankness in this waiting. The mind wanders. Gaze at: townhouses, a fading wall mural showing the march of transportation through the ages, the traffic speeding to the Mississauga border.

Even the flags near Brown's Line hang listless.

A place for the immortal words of Boyz II Men: "Yes, baby, my heart is lonely."

A moment's distraction. What is that futuristic light pole, with its space-age style and why is it . . . so fresh and forward looking and improbable in a landscape that has faded to despair.

The pole had once stood at the Eaton Centre. Removed during Dundas St. redevelopment, it lay in a public works yard until it was rescued to be a feature of the Brown's Line/Lake Shore revitalization. That was a decade ago.

There is an even more pressing need for revival of this loop. Track repair is underway and earth lies exposed and grey.

The paint is peeling in the shelter. There are holes in the roof. Passengers say the waiting room smells of urine, which is why Ani, a private nurse, sits on a stone wall. "In winter, it's terrible." She shakes her head.

Her commute is 90 minutes from Mississauga to Bay St.

Walk south for 10 minutes and there is another world: million dollar lakeshore houses. Marie Curtis Park, with a sandy beach and gentle waves. And a fresh breeze.


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I have never gone into that shelter and not smelled urine. It's not warm, it's not inviting, it's not convenient for the sheer fact that no one want's to step foot in it if they don't have to. The only reason anyone goes in there is the wind. It can get quite windy at that corner and even though the glass is missing from the doors and it is sometimes colder inside then out, the wind can be brutal with no coverage. I know the TTC is broke and blah blah but I think they should maybe partner up with Mississauga Transit and make it a wee bit more hospitable. Start with insulation. I understand the warmer you make it the more vagrants will appear, but they are there already, might as well make paying customers want to use the shelter too, or your just spending money to keep bums sheltered. Same with Humber Loop... colder inside than out, less smell of urine, unless there is someone living in there at the time of entry. But mostly, just a shelter from the wind that often houses those without a home.
A small suggestion, even though I know that there is a maintenance factor, install a closed door urinal. Since it's 99% men who urinate in the shelters. Urinals don't have to be cleaned that often. If it's a water issue, try the old fashioned way, dig a hole, fashion a device to be peed into and voila!
People already sleep, eat, urinate and do drugs in these shelters... instead of trying to stop it, make it easier to work around for us paying customers! We live in this city, we understand that vagrants are inevitable.

My relatives from New YorkCity visit Toronto at least once a year. One of the highlights of their vist is a round-trip journey on the 501, a two hour experience from Long Branch to Neville Park. After their most recent ride my brother-in-law commented, "If this experienced exsisted in New York City they could charge $100.00 for it".

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