son urban survivalists
Circumstances, dually self willed and unintentional, have left the father and son homeless. They have been of no fixed address since arriving in York Region not long ago. Edward, 44, from Calgary, Damian, 19, from Mississauga. Bound by blood and familial preservation, they are urban survivalists by design and necessity.
Somewhat guileless in the ways of social service supports, the twosome have only recently availed themselves of help. The youngster has a modest Ontario Works street allowance. The father got similar funds for the rental of a single room.
Edward’s Ontario Disability Support Program application has stalled due to his reticence to be treated for stomach cancer, a condition he said was diagnosed in 2007. Rental agreements preclude them from living together.
On those n mulberry handbags ights when Damian cannot sleep in shelters, the pair camp together outdoors. During the day, they are inseparable.
Edward conveys a deep sense of burden when he explains cold weather camping techniques. Canned food, gifted or earned through volunteer work, is perpetually frozen. A small propane heater thaws the contents until they can be placed on an open fire and makeshift grill.
“You can’t use this in the tent because of the carbon monoxide,” Edward sa mulberry handbags id, holding the heater. “If you go to sleep you’ll never wake up.”
Sleeping in sub zero temperatures requires you to cocoon from head to foot in three to four sleeping bags, he said. Yet these men have one each.
“Your boots have to be off and in a bag,” Edward said. “Otherwise it’s like slipping your feet into ice in the morning.”
A recent freeze rendered his steel toed boots useless when the cold snapped the metal. One of his toes is black and frost bitten. “I’m supposed to have it removed,” he said nonplussed,”but I just don’t like hospitals.”
The men trek to Trinity Church in Newmarket for a daily shower. In the field without running water or electricity, nature’s call must be answered.
“Dig a hole and go ahead,” Edward said, displaying a broken handled shovel.
Wintering is a double risk becaus mulberry handbags e of the exposure. During the balmier months, the bush is clogged with foliage and insects. At least the scattered encampments can’t be seen, he said.
Walking through the municipally owned acreage, the men give a verbal guided tour of the tenants and their tales. An abandoned torn tarp landmarks when Tatania from Keswick once existed.
“She was on meds and forgot to take them,” Edward said. “She lost it and had to be taken away.”
Another neighbour sleeps on flattened cardboard covered only with a coat. A cardboard box is his pillow. Many of the homeless he has encountered are battling demons, addictions and suffer from mental health issues, Edward said.
Some simply want to shun society. Others mulberry handbags are on the run. Walking across the unchartered brush, he points to shelters left and right, naming the occupants. Occasionally, tattered clothes hang on branches. They may serve as late night trail markers, he speculated.
Reaching the edge of a plaza parking lot, the men prepare to walk farther, seeking warmth in a coffee shop, library, mall, or church. Anywhere, until the doors are locked and the tent is the only sanctuary.