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Scarlem

pb4ugo2bed

TRIBE Member
I though this was an interesting read.... http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Co...le&cid=1091484609429&call_pageid=968332188492


Myths of Scarborough
I.D.'s final segment of the Growing Up series: Quick, think of Scarberia. Does a beach come to mind? The city's tough and gritty


Reputation is a tricky thing. Reactions to a bad rep often come with resignation. Some, though, enjoy it. Others abhor it. And the truly idealistic fight to change it.

But the biggest problem with a bad rep is that often, both the best and worst thing anyone can do is live up to it.

The idea of reputation is key when considering Scarborough. It's probably the only community in the GTA — other than Toronto — that has a national rep.

Tell someone you're from Scarborough, and in response, you'll get comments like: "That's a rough area. How did you survive?"

A population of nearly 600,000 — most of whom celebrate birthdays every year without getting shot up — proves the Scarborough existence isn't always the daily life and death struggle it's so often made out to be.

I'm from there, and I know each individual's experience is different. But as with any place that's earned a mythology, some aspects ring true, while others ... not so much.


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Myth No. 1: It's all the same

It's fitting that the epicentre of Scarborough is a mall. The Scarborough Town Centre is the heart of the city and is like the giant hamster wheel for area youth. It is key in forming a mallrat culture.

"It's on our way home," says Thomas Chan, 16, who goes to Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School. "I usually stop for a couple of hours after school a few days each week."

The Town Centre is next to the Civic Centre, a building constructed in the geometrical craze of the '70s. The Civic Centre used to be a common symbol on school kids' workbooks during the '80s, but by the time a Scarberian hits the teen years, it's obvious which building is more important.

The Town Centre is the city's hub. It houses the GO bus service and the TTC. The Scarborough Rapid Transit line — Ontario's only above-ground line — cuts through the city like a giant vein. Though it has only six stops, just two even matter: The Town Centre and Kennedy station, the eastern end of the TTC's Bloor line.

Kids often graduate from the Town Centre to head downtown. But the mall is the place to hang out.

Many kids in Scarborough work at the mall, often moving from job to job. If you grew up here, you will always run into people at the Town Centre.

The Town Centre TTC connection is key. You pretty much have to transfer there to go from the north end to the south. That is, until of course, cars enter the picture. Then the goal becomes finding something to do.

"We used to just ride around, looking for stuff to do. You know, movies, karaoke, pool, house parties and stuff like that," says Dan Girardelli, a 24-year-old who works at a factory near Markham and Progress Rds.

He's off work, but he's wearing one of the standard Scarborough guy uniforms: An off-kilter baseball cap, a too-large basketball jersey, baggy pants and white running shoes.

Mall culture may dominate but there are distinct neighbourhoods, if not by design, then by racial makeup. Agincourt, for instance, in the northeast corner has a large Asian community.

The Guild is in the south, a gorgeous older and wealthier community. Kingston Rd. is a long, ugly urban stretch of strip malls and motels. Malvern, which often gets a lot of press, primarily has a lower-income population and lots of high-density housing.

U of T's Scarborough campus is near Morningside and Ellesmere, and it is a monstrosity. Designed to almost have no windows, it looks like a fortress. Thankfully all the newer buildings on the campus are glass.

"When I first got here, I really thought it was a jail," says Dave Stephens, 20, a student from Winnipeg. "But the residence was a nice little community."

There are several great parks, including Morningside Park, The Rouge Valley and Bluffer's Park

"There's tonnes of green space in Scarborough. How come you never hear about that in the media?" asks Jonathan Lall, a 17-year-old student from Woburn Collegiate.

For all the consistent bad news you hear about the city, it's actually a huge place that's constantly changing. Which means while everyone growing up may have the mall and transit scene in common, differences abound.

So the status of the myth? "There's good places and bad places in Scarborough. It's not all the same," says local Chris Desouza.


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Myth #2: The Tough-Town

in the East

"I'm in the hood, cuz I'm hood. You in the hood cuz you ain't got no choice."

Lloyd Banks, G-Unit


Ask younger people about Scarborough and you'll get a common response.

"It's the hood or the ghetto," says Liz Sozonchuk, an 18-year-old from Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute, a school in the northeast end of Scarborough, (which has the nickname "Mo-white," because of the complexion of much of its denizens).

Scarborough's rep is that it's a scary place. The positive spin on that is that for everyone who passes through its school of hard knocks, the toughness taught becomes an inner strength.

Good or bad, the reputation is largely true. Everyone in Scarborough has some kind of story. But, of course, some people bring that on themselves.

"I got jumped once," says Stuart (not his real name), an 18-year-old who takes night school at Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School. "I was dealing the chronic (marijuana) and I got a call to meet a regular customer in the woods by the Town Centre." Three guys jumped out, and "beat me up pretty bad," he says.

As much as people bemoan the rep, there's an underlying pride to it. It's why you see tags all over the town, saying "Tux Crew," a bit of showing off by the gangs who live in Tuxedo Court, a housing project near Markham and Ellesmere. It's the idea that since everyone thinks the area is bad, the people, especially the youth of Scarborough, band together and enjoy the idea that they come from somewhere nasty.

It can also be a source of some dark humour.

"So one time I was at this Trini-bar down by Midland and St. Clair. I parked right outside the bar. Somebody got shot up right outside the club. We didn't even hear anything inside, but the cops came in and locked the place down. We didn't get to leave until 5 a.m," says Suzi, a 27-year-old from around Kennedy and Eglinton. "I got outside and my car is behind the police tape. It had all these white fingerprint marks on it. When I told people, they were like `Well, what did you expect? You parked right outside. Of course, that's where s---'s going to happen.'"

Yes, grow up in Scarborough and you're bound to run into a little bit of violence. But it's not some place that's overrun with people looking for trouble.

"The last fight I got into was a snowball fight in Grade 5," says Adam McLeod, 17. "It's not that bad here, and I don't feel unsafe. If you want to find trouble you can. But if you don't, it doesn't come after you."

As a myth, the rep exists, no doubt. But as for how true it is, for most, it depends on how true they want it to be.
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Myth #3: Adversity breeds fame

Whenever the idea of revitalizing Scarborough comes around in earnest, some entrepreneur will start offering a "Tour of the Stars" type bus. Unfortunately, most of it will be boring. It is still suburbia, after all.

But the question is: If Scarborough's so bad, how come so many successful people are from there?

The list of famous Scarberians includes: Paul Tracy, Mike Myers, Monica Schnarre, Fefe Dobson, the Barenaked Ladies, a bunch of current NHLers from Kevin Weekes to Mike Ricci. NBA all-star Jamal Magloire. Jim Carrey lived there for a time when he was younger. This list goes on.

"I think the place gets a bad rap," says Wes Williams, a.k.a. Maestro Fresh Wes. "I mean, I've got nothing but positivity from there, and I want to spread that."

Hannah Sung of MuchMusic is also from Scarborough.

"I don't know why so many successful people come from there, but I don't think it's strange or anything," she says. "I mean when I was a kid, and this is going to sound so nerdy, but there wasn't much to do so I spent a lot of time at the library."

There is no quantifiable reason as to why the place breeds success. Just part of the Scarborough magic.


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Myth # 4: The threat of widespread crime

The general perception of crime in Scarborough is it's getting worse.

"I hate Scarborough. I don't want to raise my kids here," says Jaime Lee de Boer, 26, who works at the Dogfish Bar located beside the marina at Bluffer's Park. "Maybe it was just as bad (when I was younger), but as a kid, I didn't really notice."

Scarborough and crime are intertwined because it has been home to some high-profile cases over the past 30 years. When the Scarborough Rapist was loose, almost every tall blonde guy in neighbourhood high schools was questioned. The latest? Cecilia Zhang's accused killer was found in his Scarborough apartment just two weeks ago.

So often in Scarborough, this kind of thing happens in waves. And when these things happen, they happen loudly, and the media focus is turned straight on to the city, and once again it seems like the city lives up to its reputation.

"I do think Scarborough is getting worse," says Ryan Coleman, a 21-year-old security guard. "But I also think that the media isn't really helping the situation. It's not as bad as people think."

So far this year there have been 37 murders in the GTA. Nine of them took place in Scarborough. That's just three less than in the former city of Toronto, but Scarborough as a whole is reputed to be the more dangerous place.

Here's why: The numbers tend to back it up. In 2003, police divisions 41 and 42, which cover all of Scarborough, were 1 and 2 in the highest incidents of violent crime in the GTA. The police define violent crime as homicide and homicide-related offences, sexual offences, assaults, abduction and robbery: 3,417 incidents were reported in 41 division (the south part of Scarborough); and 3,546 in 42 Division (the north).

In comparison, 52 division covers one segment of downtown Toronto and came in third. Now, to even the playing field, the two Scarborough divisions are the some of the largest in the GTA, and dwarf 52 division.

For younger folks, the truth is that there are many incidents that operate under the radar. Fights at a dance at Woburn Collegiate resulted in the year's remaining dances being cancelled.

"That incident was something that had nothing to do with me, and it doesn't make me feel unsafe at all to come here," says Ying-Zi Siow, a 16-year-old student there.

No, it's sad, but crime is not a myth in Scarborough.
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Myth #5: That diversity is

always a uniting force

If there is something that's constantly changing, it's Scarborough's racial makeup. It is a part of the city, as the cheaper homes and Ontario Housing often attract new immigrants. This past federal election, there was some talk of communities being insular, essentially becoming a city of ghettos. But it is something that is happening in Scarborough.

It must be remembered, that for many, it's a choice. New people arrive and want to find some of the comforts of home, be it certain food ingredients or a strange face, but speaking the same language.

That said, in Scarborough, if you discuss the area's issues, race usually comes up. When younger people talk about it, they don't want to be labelled racist. But blame is often assigned to flavour-of-the-month gangs. Bring up a problem, and it won't be long before someone says, "That s--- is caused by those b------."

Most of the young people in Scarborough are in two camps. Either they are examples of the integrated Canadian, with friends from several races, or they tend to hang out with people of a similar background.

But to some kids, there's nothing divisive about different approaches. "At school, people are friends with everybody. It doesn't really matter what race someone is," says Anisah Mobin, 15. "You just know people from your classes, and it's not a big deal."

Scarborough has at least one aspect of a big city mentality. Many communities don't have that neighbourhood feel.

"Most people just sort of stay in their homes, and not really interact with their neighbours. I think it was better when I was younger, but now, I don't know, people are just more concerned about themselves," says Nadia Khan, 26, who lives near McCowan and Finch.

So is Scarborough one big happy family? Not quite. Like any family — or any city — it has its feuds, problems and personalities.

You don't earn a reputation any other way, after all.
 
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room

Saffron

TRIBE Member
The only place I have ever been mugged is in Scarlem for a walkman on my way to a soccer practice.

The only place my car has ever been broken into is Scarlem, at the Town Center.

The only place I have ever been followed is Scarlem, through the Town Center.

The only place I have ever worked at that had an Armed ROBBERY was in Scarlem.

That place is ghetto. No if and's or but's.
 

dyad

TRIBE Member
grew up in Scarlem never been mugged

grew up in Scarlem never had a break in

grew up in Scarlem never been followed

grew up in Scarlem never witnessed an armed robbery


It sucks to have bad experiences, but they happen everywhere
there are way more ghetto neighbourhoods downtown, they're just smaller and dont get the same press


I do like the fact that people think I'm a tough ass because of my hometown though ;)
 

Saffron

TRIBE Member
^^ I dont go to scarlem often, the rare times I was in scarlem the incidents occured (I worked at that place for 3 weeks and there was an armed robbery and i was like cya). Sure theres times when I have been there and nothing has happened but considering I dont visit scarborough much and shit like that happened, makes me think it is an extremely unsafe place. Sort of like Jane & Finch.

I will attest to downtown being dangerous. I had a gun pulled on me by a crazy homeless man in the alley off of Bathurst at Queen. He then proceeded to throw the gun at me and my friend. I considered weather to tell him thats not exactly how a gun works, but then I figured I would run the fuck away seeing as if hes insane enough to throw the gun at us... he must be some sort of loose cannon.

But that is the only bad thing that has ever happened to me in the city that was not in scarborough other than watching a woman get pushed in front of a Subway train at Dundas station a few years ago.

More crap happened to me in Scarborough, therefore I conclude Scarborough to be a dangerous place. Thats why I live at Avenue Rd & Eglinton, the worst thing thats gonna happen to me is someones Pug is going to poo on my lawn.
 

Rude1_247

TRIBE Member
It's funny, this article already made it through the forward circle of all my scarborough boys. Grew up in Scarborough, only been mugged once. I've never been broken into in Scarborough (though I've been broken into twice in London and about three times at our cottage in Bancroft).

It all depends on the area of Scarborough you're talking about. There are areas in Scarborough where houses are going for above the million mark. Then there's areas like where I grew up which are pretty average, and then there's areas like Malvern which are a little more prone to crime.

People who grew up there know how to handle it, it's not a big deal. It gets overblown in the media.
 
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kmac

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Rude1_247

People who grew up there know how to handle it, it's not a big deal. It gets overblown in the media.

Word.

*pulls out gat and sprays thread with bullets*

Seriously. And I hate the term Scarlem. I much prefer Scompton or Scabrow. Bitches better recognize. I also find that there's a weird connection when you start talking to someone and realize they're from Scarborough too. It's kind of cool.

And when I'm stone chillin in Aurora, peeps be thinking I'm tough because of where I'm from. LOL.
 

Rude1_247

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Skipper
what area was your bus in last night when someone got stabbed?

Jackass. :p

VP and Eglinton. But that's one of those areas you kind of expect that kind of thing by now. Etobicoke has parts just as rough, if not worse, than Scarborough, so why doesn't it get the same label? Same can be said for parts of North York, East York, Toronto, etc.
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
iroquois jr. p.s.
henry kelsey sr. p.s.
albert campbell c.i.

maestro fresh wes used to hand out quarters at the woodside square arcade. he played super sprint and r.b.i. baseball with us before he dropped the needle and let his backbone slide.

that's right. we were fucking hardcore yo.

don't make fun or i'll roll you for your shoes.
 

BigBadBaldy

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Saffron
That place is ghetto. No if and's or but's.
Nice attitude. Bad shit happens everywhere.

I grew up in Scarborough around Finch/Vic Park and other places and while shit went down sometimes, it was no less safe than living downtown. Mind you, it was a long time ago, but I've been through since and I honestly think its reputation is pretty exaggerated. It's not like there aren't hundreds of thousands of families living in the area, schools, businesses. There an abundance on non-ghettoness in Scarborough.

There also seems to a lot of crazy zhit that goes on there. ;)
 
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Rude1_247

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by kmac
I also find that there's a weird connection when you start talking to someone and realize they're from Scarborough too. It's kind of cool.

This is very true.

Almost an embarassing story, but:
During frosh week at Western, at one of the campus bars, there were so many drunken Scarborough kids that the entire bar started chanting "Scarborough". It was weird, and looking back on it kinda, well REALLY, ghey.

It's true though, when you meet someone new and you find out they're from SCarborough as well you instantly feel like you're buds.
 

kmac

TRIBE Member
I think we just need a post from stir-fry and patrick and then this thread is complete.

Hey, we should start a gang.
 

BigBadBaldy

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Klubmasta Will
iroquois jr. p.s.
henry kelsey sr. p.s.
albert campbell c.i.
That's hilarious. I went to Iroquois and Chartland (right beside Kelsey) before moving farther west.
 

Rude1_247

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Klubmasta Will

don't make fun or i'll roll you for your shoes.

Jackass. Are you the guy that rolled me for my Nike Air-Pumps and LA Raiders bomber jacket when I was 12?

I'll hunt you down..... my crew will mess you up....
 

kmac

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Rude1_247

It's true though, when you meet someone new and you find out they're from SCarborough as well you instantly feel like you're buds.

It's always...

"What intersection?"
"What high school?"
"What police division?"

ps: Brimley/Steeles, Dr. Norman Bethune C.I., 42

edit: I went to Chartland too.
 
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Rude1_247

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by kmac
It's always...

"What intersection?"
"What high school?"
"What police division?"

ps: Brimley/Steeles, Dr. Norman Bethune C.I., 42

edit: I went to Chartland too.

Vic Park and Lawrence
R.H. King
42 all the way.
 

kmac

TRIBE Member
IgStar, remember when we drove through Scarborough and saw that apartment building? Ew.

You are hard, too.
 

IgStar

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by kmac
IgStar, remember when we drove through Scarborough and saw that apartment building? Ew.

You are hard, too.

ewe. don't remind me. I almost gagged.

hard?

<--drinks Export @10am lol
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by BigBadBaldy
That's hilarious. I went to Iroquois and Chartland (right beside Kelsey) before moving farther west.

dude, that's awesome. chartland girls kicked ass.

*touches fists with bigbadbaldy*
 
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Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Rude1_247
Vic Park and Lawrence
R.H. King
42 all the way.

how old are you? do you know evan cartwright? what about his hot little sister?

Originally posted by kmac
ps: Brimley/Steeles, Dr. Norman Bethune C.I., 42

edit: I went to Chartland too.

kirsten - we've already had a "do you know so-and-so from bethune" conversation, right?

*touches fists with kmac*
 

Rude1_247

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Klubmasta Will
how old are you? do you know evan cartwright? what about his hot little sister?



kirsten - we've already had a "do you know so-and-so from bethune" conversation, right?

*touches fists with kmac*

I'm 25, would I know them from King, from my area, or from 42 division? ;)
 

kmac

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Klubmasta Will

kirsten - we've already had a "do you know so-and-so from bethune" conversation, right?

*touches fists with kmac*

Of course. We've had the discussion a few times now. ;) Although I forgot I went to Chartland until reading this thread. It was only for JK, so I guess that's why I forgot.

*touches fists with KMW*
 

stir-fry

TRIBE Member
Lived in scarborough all my 26 years. Never got jumped, robbed, followed or harassed. My car, nor any car in my family has ever been broken into or fucked with..

scarborough's not as bad as everyone makes it seem
 
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