A small band of activists and various hangers-on are hoping to make the sense of affinity created by anti-war rebellion a little less fleeting. It's called the Peace Camp, and it was set up outside City Hall the night the bombing started.
From the vantage of the site beside the Square's faux-oasis pavilion, the camp's surreality becomes clearer; it's almost a dare to Torontonians to take off the blinders. Someone spreads out an ornate rug and begins to play a sitar.
These campers are generally content to keep to themselves but won't turn anyone away and are happy to offer food, rest or an explanation. The permanent population seems to hover around 10, though each time I visit I see new faces. But the tiny community is tenuous.
A few days ago, the place was abuzz with news of two recent arrests and threats by police to tear the place down. On Sunday, participants in a Science for Peace meeting at City Hall saved the encampment with their presence when police hassling began. And so, on Monday morning, the place stood. Now Olivia Chow is attempting to get the city to sponsor the tent-out. The councillor is asking the city's facilities department for approval. Let's hope they get it.
Since the arrests, the flow of people coming to drop off food, chat or serenade residents has increased. Says Eric, a hardcore camper: "We're going to be here until the war ends." It's with a heavy heart, then, that I have to wish for its speedy dismantling.