I spent some time yesterday exploring the Occupy Toronto happening in St James’ Park, and snapping photos. There’s something wonderful about the atmosphere there – one that makes me more optimistic for the future:

The place was a hive of activity. One of the things that impressed me the most was the organization that’s gone into it. There’s a medical tent (with a sign requesting no photos), a media tent (with free wifi):

an open library with an extensive set of books:

a makeshift kitchen:

…and the all important whiteboard listing what’s needed:

It was my first time seeing the human mic in action, and I was blown away by how that works as a community-building exercise.

And definitely kid-friendly:

And unlike most political rallies that feature celebrity speakers, this is entirely a grassroots affair. There’s some people down there who are brilliant at building the quiet, open atmosphere that’s conducive to community building.

And plenty of fun to be had doing sign writing:

Some of the signs had a strong Canadian theme. Our mayor (Rob Ford) features in many of them – for the non-locals, we have a ridiculously over the top right-wing mayor who tried to slash spending for everything from libraries to daycare this summer, and got a serious comeuppance from the citizenry in response. That’s him, on the orange sign below, being mocked for his election slogan that he would clear out the “gravy” from city hall (his consultants’ report showed the city is run very efficiently, and there is no gravy!). Oh, look, and right next to it, a Climate Justice sign:

Interestingly, the signs focus on sustainability just as much as economics. Here’s on that combines both themes very nicely:

And of course, plenty of artistic talent:

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