Calgary committee hears concerns about supervised consumption site – Calgary


Social agencies and members of the public presented concerns about Calgary’s supervised consumption site to the community services committee on Wednesday.

Police and fire officials spoke about the increased social disorder and spike in crime in the area. Alberta Health Services officials talked about steps it is taking, such as increasing security patrols in the area.

Effect on residents

Residents living near the consumption site at the Sheldon M. Chumir Centre spoke of how they feel unsafe in the area.

“People like my daughter and granddaughters have to walk in fear as they go to work or school,” said Sherry Crawford in her presentation to the committee. “You imply that all lives matter yet you are deliberately choosing to prioritize addicts’ lives over those of my daughters and granddaughters.”

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Calgary city council votes to study safety initiatives for downtown safe consumption site

Jessica McEachern, a peer support worker at the site, said the increased security in the area has a negative impact.

“It’s really disheartening as people that I see that have come and been using the site from the beginning to now… they feel they can’t trust us anymore because of the increased police presence around,” she said.

Resources and strategies

Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley said strategies, such as daily needle clean-ups and police patrols, are already being used to help address social disorder. He added that working to provide supports to the site will help the surrounding neighbourhood.

“Ensuring that we have the wraparound supports and that the wraparound supports are working, we will see better outcomes in terms of social disorder and crime in the community that we’re experiencing and having challenges with,” he said.

Spike in crime around Calgary supervised consumption site leads to questions about resources

Calgary deputy police chief Ryan Ayliffe said officers have made a point of directing more resources at that area.

“That includes changing shifts, re-deploying officers from bikes, re-deploying beat officers,” Ayliffe said. “We have engaged in other investigative resources in the area to supplement some of our investigative tactics.”

Ayliffe said that police alone won’t be able to address issues in the area.

“There’s nothing an officer possesses in their tool belt that can allow them to work on these problems in isolation,” Ayliffe said. “We have to work with all the partners in the city and in the province and federally to resolve the root issues of these problems.”

Impact on future projects

Concerns surrounding the site have led an east Calgary community association to withdraw support for another proposed supervised consumption site.

HIV Community Link hopes to have a mobile supervised consumption site operating in neighbourhoods like Forest Lawn. The project has not yet been approved by Health Canada and specific locations have not been determined.

Calgary supervised consumption site given 1-year extension by Health Canada

Troubled by the CPS report outlining significant increases in drug-related calls and violent crime in the area surrounding the Chumir site, the Forest Lawn Community Association said it would not support having a safe injection site in their neighbourhood.

“Given that the only information we have comes back with such a negative response, we just can’t take that risk,” association president William Carnegie said.

“Right now, I just don’t see anything going forward where we can support it.”

However, HIV Community Link believes its mobile site won’t experience the same sort of social disorder seen at the Chumir site.

“We’ll be a low-volume service that will be in a neighbourhood a few hours at a time rather than a large service that’s operating 24 hours a day,” executive director Leslie Hill said.

She added that the organization will have outreach teams to help ease any concerns community members have. Security teams could also be added as a precaution.

WATCH: People living near the Sheldon M. Chumir Centre supervised consumption site delivered impassioned pleas for change to a City of Calgary committee on Wednesday, as officials grapple with public safety issues surrounding the site. Blake Lough reports.

City administration is being asked to consider feedback in developing recommendations in response to the 12 items up for study from Woolley.

On Feb. 25, city council will get an update on actions taken to address social disorder and public safety.

The issue will head back to committee in the second quarter of the year.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Le site de Captain Marvel est un voyage dans le web des années 1990


Si vous avez connu la glorieuse époque de Geocities, vous vous sentirez comme dans vos vieilles pantoufles en visitant le site officiel du film Captain Marvel. La page réserve une place de choix aux GIF animés, aux couleurs de l’arc-en-ciel et à la police de caractères Comic Sans MS.

Même la bande-annonce offerte sur le site est habillée d’un lecteur rappelant ceux d’il y a deux décennies. Et un site de cette époque ne serait pas complet sans un compteur de visites (qui est toutefois factice)!

Il n’y a pas que le site officiel qui met de l’avant le fait que le film se déroule dans les années 1990. Marvel a voulu que cela soit clair dès le début de la campagne de promotion entourant sa sortie.

La bande-annonce du film débute en effet avec l’écrasement de Captain Marvel sur une succursale de la chaîne… Blockbuster. Les scènes qui suivent et les autres images promotionnelles du film sont un enchaînement d’icônes de la décennie du grunge : un lecteur de cassettes audio portatif Walkman jaune, un téléavertisseur, un t-shirt du groupe Nine Inch Nails. Tout y est!

Et pour les plus fins connaisseurs, la directrice de l’ingénierie logicielle de Marvel Entertainment, Lori Lomberg, a souligné sur Twitter (Nouvelle fenêtre) que le site est hébergé sur Angelfire, un service populaire à l’époque de son lancement, en 1996.


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Grey Nuns want to bring new life to 17th century Montreal historic site – Montreal


The Grey Nuns of Montreal want to change one of the city’s oldest buildings into a modern museum and educational centre.

The Youville Mother House, dating from 1693, was originally Montreal’s first general hospital. Afterward, it was the longtime home of the Grey Nuns.

READ MORE: Celebrating 100 years of Montreal’s Sun Life building

“Our mission was very much alive in this house for 100 years,” said Sister Aurore Larking, superior general with the Grey Nuns. “It became too small at a certain point, and we moved.”

The nuns own the building, and in conjunction with the Université de Montréal, they now want to revitalize their old home.

“In a time when numerous heritage buildings in Quebec find themselves in a position of fragility, we want to not only protect this historic space, but give a a new life to the Youville Mother House,” said Larking.

“It’s important for to actively contribute to the sharing of our history and our heritage.”

The museum would show off an extensive collection of artifacts, many of which have never been seen by the public.

“Right now, it’s almost impossible for somebody who’s not a university professor to have access to these artifacts,” said Frédéric Bouchard, dean of Arts and Sciences at the Université de Montréal.

The space would also be home to a new state-of-the-art Université de Montréal architecture laboratory.

“This is the right place and the right time for us to train better archaeologists and to make sure all Montrealers have access to their findings,” said Bouchard.

Exhibits would also include the “Room for the Poor,” basically unchanged since the congregation used it to distribute food to the needs in the 17th century. Marguerite Youville’s old room would also be on display. The vaulted cellar, used for storage hundreds of years ago, would be home to artifacts.

The proposed new modern museum and educational centre, called “Espace Marguerite Youville,” is a $35-million project that would rely on government funding. Governments, however, have not yet committed to help funding it.

“We’re ready to move and we’re waiting,” said Larkin.

“It’s something that should be on the list of projects to support,” said Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal.

Without government support, for now the ambitious project will have to wait.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Toronto human trafficking arrests shine spotlight on popular classifieds site. Sex worker advocates fear another crackdown


After a series of human trafficking arrests involving the same online classifieds site, a Toronto sex worker says she worries a crackdown on internet sex ads could make her more vulnerable.

Toronto police have charged eight GTA residents with dozens of charges in four separate cases this year involving the website In one, police say a 17-year-old schoolgirl was taken to a series of GTA motels by a man with a gun and forced to sell her body to strangers.

The latest bust was announced last week, after police say a man physically assaulted a 28-year-old woman several times, including one attack that left her with broken ribs.

In all four cases, alleged pimps forced women to place sex ads on and took all of their earnings.

In one, an alleged pimp even threatened a sex worker’s pet, police said.

“I can tell you stories that will fill your head,” Perry said.

But the Toronto sex worker, whom the Star is not naming because she fears for her safety, said she worries a sweeping crackdown against human trafficking on the internet could push independent adult sex workers underground.

The 30-year-old sex worker, whose real name is known by the Star, is a member of Butterfly, an Asian and migrant sex workers support network. She said she has been a sex worker in Toronto for two years.

She said sex workers use the internet to vet their potential clients and even ask for references.

“They can screen,” she said. “They can increase their safety.”

Toronto police declined to comment on The Star attempted to contact the website by email and at a toll-free phone number listed on the site’s contacts page, but received no response.’s terms of use ask users to immediately report suspected human trafficking to police and say the site will cooperate with law enforcement “to the fullest extent possible.”

There’s a major difference between sex trafficking, in which girls and women are coerced into prostitution, and the sex trade where adult women make independent decisions, said Karen Campbell of the Toronto-based Canadian Women’s Foundation.

The 2018 shutdown of the site, once a popular host for sex workers’ ads, was distressing for many, Campbell said in an interview.

“It pushed a lot of people back onto the streets,” she said.

Cracking down on online sex ads also won’t help undocumented women who are reluctant to go to police, she said.

“If they were to go to police, they would end up detained and deported,” she said.

Read more: shutdown puts sex workers’ livelihoods, safety at risk, GTA advocacy group says

Beaten. Branded. Bought. Sold: A Star investigation into the dark underbelly of sex trafficking in Ontario

Sex trafficking case turns on whether websites can be held liable for content created by users

Perry said the average Toronto sex worker when he was on the job entered the sex trade at age 14.

There seemed no end to men wanting to prey upon them, Perry said.

“We had a mandate to rescue these kids, get them help and go after the pimps,” Perry said. “Every time we arrested a pimp, there were two or three to take his place.”

Perry said fewer sex workers could be seen on the streets after pagers became popular a few decades ago, a change he said made it tough for police to monitor their safety.

“A lot of the girls that used to work the streets were suddenly carrying pagers,” Perry said. “At least when they were on the street we knew them.”

When sex work was more visible on downtown streets, it was easier for social workers to try to help women and for police to keep an eye on their customers, Perry said.

“They may be in a more vulnerable position now because they have no interaction with police,” Perry said. “Prostitutes don’t generally walk into a police station and report intimidation.”

Some Toronto sex workers were local residents while others came from abroad, smuggled into the city on the hopes of getting a job, Perry said.

There was some organized crime involvement, often connected with bikers and strip clubs, he said.

Perry said he fears pimps now use websites to fly under the police radar and exploit women. Some websites are out of the country, presenting jurisdictional challenges for police.

“We’re almost giving a license for pimps to be anonymous and control women,” Perry said., which bills itself as “Canada’s classified site,” automatically redirects to the address — using the internet country code of the Cocos Islands, a tiny Australian territory. The contact page refers to Unicorn House Ltd., a company based in Budapest, Hungary.

To post an ad, users are charged a cost ranging from free to more than €2.50 ($3.75 Canadian) — the site bills in euros — depending on region and category.

As of Wednesday, a personals ad for a female escort in the GTA costs the poster €2.65. That same ad in Hamilton costs €1.79; an ad for a male escort in Ottawa is free.

The personals section contains dozens of recently posted ads for male and female escorts across the GTA. Many of the site’s other classifieds categories — including for vehicles, housing and jobs — appear little used.

The site’s landing page boasts it has more than 150,000 registered users and millions of total ads. appears to have become more popular since was shut down by the FBI last year; before, classifieds site Craigslist was one of the most popular sites for advertising sexual services.

A study of sex ads on Craigslist released this year by researchers at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, supports the Toronto sex worker’s comments that the internet can make the sex trade safer.

The study suggests that the old Craigslist “erotic services” ads made sex work safer by helping sex workers screen out the most dangerous clients.

The internet allowed women to do background checks of clients, even seeking references, the Baylor team found. It also “may have caused outdoor street-based prostitution to transition to the safer, indoor channel,” researchers found.

Scott Cunningham, one of the study’s authors, said in an interview he suspects is absorbing a market once filled by

“The market is probably adjusting in Canada,” he said.

Cunningham said he wasn’t surprised the Toronto woman said internet ads make her feel safer and freer of pimps.

“Sex workers have been saying this for years,” he said.

Peter Edwards is a Toronto-based reporter primarily covering crime. Reach him by email at


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Calgary city council votes to study safety initiatives for downtown safe consumption site – Calgary


Calgary city council has voted unanimously to take a look at a dozen actions that could lead to increased public safety around the safe consumption site at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre.

Councillor Evan Woolley said it’s natural to get angry emails from upset residents on various issues, however, what he’s getting from Beltline residents is a sense of fear and he said that is from people who were initially supportive of the safe consumption site.

Woolley and Councillor Diane Colley Urquhart have come up with 12 recommendations that include things such as daily needle cleanups and increased security. They are also asking Alberta Health Services to add additional on-site psychologists and psychiatrists that specialize in addictions and mental health.

“As someone who really supported the facility I support the incredible work that’s being undertaken by some of our best minds to address this problem,” Woolley said. “But it won’t be successful if we cannot keep the people that live in and around this community safe.”

Calgary supervised consumption site given 1-year extension by Health Canada

WATCH BELOW: Tour of supervised consumption site

The councillors’ initiatives follow a recent police report about a spike in crime in the vicinity of the centre.

Councillor Peter Demong voted in favour of Woolley and Colley Urquhart’s initiatives but expressed concern about the city having to provide funding for the issues that were created by the province when the consumption site was opened.

“We’re basically having to clean up something a different level of government instituted,” Demong said.

A report will come to a city hall committee on Feb. 13 with an update and possible costs associated with the 12 initiatives.

Spike in crime around Calgary supervised consumption site leads to questions about resources

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Et si Facebook était resté un site de rencontre universitaire…


La plateforme Facebook est tout en teintes soporifiques de bleu et de gris. Aucune trace du rouge éclatant pour attirer l’attention, comme le font plusieurs médias d’information. Exit aussi le jaune, le vert et l’orange des sites de pièges à clics. On en vient presque à oublier que Facebook est un site.

Mais, au fait, pourquoi Facebook est-il bleu? La réponse en dit long sur le réseau social, sur ce qu’il est devenu et sur la trajectoire qu’il a parcourue.

Facebook est bleu parce que son fondateur, Mark Zuckerberg, est daltonien (Nouvelle fenêtre). Celui-ci perçoit mal les autres couleurs; c’est aussi simple que ça. Il n’y a pas eu d’étude de marché pour déterminer « la-plus-meilleure-couleur-pour-rejoindre-l’utilisateur-type ». Pas de grande réflexion stratégique sur les besoins des usagers non plus. Un trouble oculaire, point.

Mais ce n’est pourtant pas anodin.

On a souvent l’impression que Facebook est un fait accompli; qu’il a émergé tel quel, prêt à engloutir le monde, mais c’est faux. Le site est le fruit de mutations provoquées par des décisions humaines, qui, elles, découlent des motivations et des désirs des dirigeants de l’entreprise. Ces mêmes décisions ont mené à la création d’une plateforme au pouvoir immense, où le quart de l’humanité passe son temps.

Facebook, dans son incarnation actuelle, n’était pas inévitable. Lors de sa création, en 2004, « Thefacebook » était un site de rencontre pour les élèves des universités d’élite situées aux États-Unis. On se créait un profil et on y mettait nos photos, nos états d’âme, les films qu’on regardait et les groupes de musique qui nous allumaient.

On voit que le nom du site est « Thefacebook » et qu'il est réservé aux étudiants de l'université Harvard.La page d’accueil originale de Thefacebook, le 12 février 2004 Photo : Capture d’écran – Wayback Machine

Le site permettait aux étudiants d’épier les camarades de classe qui les intéressaient. Le classique « cette fille est jolie; je vais aller voir son Facebook pour savoir si elle est célibataire et si on a des goûts semblables ». C’était ça, la mission fondatrice de Facebook. Et c’est autour de ce noyau qu’a grandi le site. Déjà, on voyait que la protection de la vie privée n’était pas vraiment un enjeu.

Imaginez un monde où – un site de rencontre québécois populaire au début des années 2000 – serait devenu le point de rendez-vous du web; la plateforme quasi planétaire par où transitent les informations qui façonnent le monde. Assez farfelu, n’est-ce pas? Pourtant, c’est plus ou moins ce qui est arrivé avec Facebook.

Trois points tournants

Entre 2006 et 2009, la direction de Facebook a pris des décisions qui ont changé le réseau social (et le monde). Au cours de cette période, l’entreprise a décidé d’étendre ses services à l’ensemble des universités occidentales, puis aux écoles secondaires, et finalement à toute personne de plus de 13 ans. Trois innovations majeures l’ont métamorphosée.

L’arrivée du fil d’actualités a d’abord changé de façon radicale le comportement des utilisateurs. Par le passé, il fallait consulter les profils Facebook de nos amis pour savoir ce qui se passait. Le fil d’actualités a encouragé les utilisateurs à être plus passifs, à regarder défiler un flot incessant de publications… En prime, c’est très addictif, ce qui est bon pour garder les internautes sur le site.

Peu après, Facebook a mis sur pied la possibilité de créer des pages. Cette fonction permet à quiconque d’instaurer un espace pour faire la promotion d’une entreprise, d’un groupe de musique, d’une cause politique, etc. L’auditoire étant de plus en plus sur Facebook, les médias d’information ont lancé leur propre page et se sont retrouvés contraints à y diffuser (gratuitement) leur contenu. L’importance du fil d’actualités dans le monde médiatique a été décuplée. Des gens futés ont aussi réalisé qu’ils pouvaient faire de l’argent et manipuler l’opinion publique en utilisant des pages hyperpartisanes comme haut-parleurs pour la propagation de mensonges et de demi-vérités dans le but de capter l’attention des utilisateurs de Facebook. On connaît la suite.

Puis est arrivé le bouton J’aime, devenu aujourd’hui presque un réflexe. On voit quelque chose qui nous fait réagir : on clique. C’est pavlovien. Le fameux « pouce en l’air » nous a habitués à interagir avec les publications, ce qui a changé notre rapport à l’information. On ne fait pas que la consulter, on se l’approprie en cliquant sur J’aime (ou, depuis 2016, sur d’autres boutons suggérant toute une gamme d’émotions). Cet automatisme permet à l’algorithme d’en apprendre plus sur ce qui nous interpelle. Le but? Nous montrer encore plus de publications qui titilleront notre « pouce en l’air ». Au gré de nos J’aime, Facebook se fait une image de plus en plus précise de qui nous sommes. Des informations précieuses qui lui permettent de nous vendre comme produit aux annonceurs grâce aux publicités ciblées.

Sans le fil d’actualités, les pages et le bouton J’aime, il n’y aurait probablement pas eu de scandale d’ingérence russe lors de l’élection présidentielle américaine de 2016. Pas de fuite de données à Cambridge Analytica. Pas de lynchages au Nigeria, en Inde et au Mexique causés par la propagation de fausses nouvelles sur Facebook. Pas de pages Facebook qui incitent au génocide au Myanmar. Et j’en passe…

Le PDG de Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, lors de son témoignage au Sénat sur l’utilisation et la protection des données des utilisateurs.  Washington, États-Unis, le 10 avril 2018. REUTERS / Leah Millis - HP1EE4A1SCS7OLe PDG de Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, témoigne devant une audience conjointe du Sénat américain à Washington. REUTERS / Leah Millis Photo : Reuters / Leah Millis

Des décisions lourdes de conséquences

Ces activités auraient pu avoir lieu sur une autre plateforme. « Quelqu’un aurait inventé Facebook de toute façon », entend-on souvent. Peut-être… Mais elles n’auraient pas eu lieu sur Facebook et elles n’auraient probablement pas pris l’ampleur qu’on constate aujourd’hui. Vous en voyez, vous, des scandales d’ingérence politique sur

Ces décisions fatidiques ont forgé le Facebook que nous avons aujourd’hui. Personne n’a pris le conseil d’administration par la main. Personne n’a forcé l’entreprise à rejoindre 2,1 milliards d’utilisateurs. Personne ne lui a tordu le bras pour qu’elle étende ses tentacules dans des pays où elle représente le seul site web que les internautes peuvent consulter. Personne ne l’a obligée à devenir le géant ingérable qu’elle est devenue.

Facebook aurait pu rester « Thefacebook », un site de rencontre pour universitaires. Tout ce qui est arrivé par la suite est une conséquence directe des décisions prises par des êtres humains désormais imbus d’un immense pouvoir. Les scandales de vie privée, et alouette, ne sont pas le fruit du hasard et ils ne sont pas la suite naturelle des choses.

Au printemps 2018, Mark Zuckerberg a dû témoigner devant le Congrès américain pour répondre des multiples scandales qui secouaient son réseau social. Il a reconnu que Facebook avait fait plusieurs erreurs. Quant à l’ingérence étrangère en politique américaine, M. Zuckerberg a affirmé que l’entreprise n’avait « pas vu venir » de telles utilisations abusives de ses services.

Ce sont là de mauvaises excuses. Quand on prend des décisions, on est responsable des conséquences qui en découlent, même si on ne les a « pas vues venir ». Ou, encore mieux : et si les entreprises du secteur de la haute technologie se limitaient à des activités dont elles pouvaient prévoir les dérives?

Juste une idée, comme ça, pour tes 16 ans, Facebook.

Vous avez vu circuler une info douteuse, une photo louche ou une citation peu crédible? Envoyez-la-moi! Vous pouvez m’écrire un courriel ou me joindre sur Facebook ou Twitter.


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Montreal Irish community meets to discuss future plans for Black Rock site – Montreal


More than 100 members of Montreal’s Irish community met at St. Gabriel’s Parish Thursday, learning about future plans for the Black Rock site.

“We are at the very beginning of planning, but it is exciting that we have reached this point,” said Fergus Keyes, co-director of the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation.

The Irish community has been asking for a memorial park for more than 100 years. There is already a small site in the median of the road on Bridge Street.

Irish history commemorated in 153rd Walk to the Black Rock

In 1847, more than 6,000 Irish died from a typhus epidemic. A mass grave was found a couple of decades later at the site, which sits at the base of the Victoria Bridge.

Hydro-Quebec has given 1.5 hectares of land they purchased for a post to be used to create a memorial park at the site.

City of Montreal planners have been working with Hydro, those behind the REM light rail project and the Irish community to find ways of re-configuring Bridge Street to accommodate the park.

WATCH: Walk to the Rock commemorates Montreal’s Irish community (May, 2018)

On Thursday, those who attended the meeting at St. Gabriel’s heard different versions of the plans to change Bridge Street, which will be publicly announced at a later date when a recommendation is made to the city.

In the meantime, members of the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation say the story of Black Rock is a truly Canadian one.

Montreal rallied around the sick and dying in what the foundation calls a “major humanitarian effort.”

“In some cases, they sacrificed their own lives, and just because they knew it was the right thing to do,” said Victor Boyle, representing the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation.

Quebec parties promise to remove election signs set up on Black Rock mass grave site

Those from the order of the Grey Nuns also played a key role, Keyes said.  He explained how they were released from their vow of obedience and were told they didn’t have to go to the site and offer care. Still, 24 of the able-bodied nuns went, where they all contracted the disease.

Of those 24, seven died, and those who recovered went back to help.

There was also the local Indigenous population, who helped by bringing much-needed food to the city.

And famously, the mayor of Montreal at the time, American-born John Easton Mills, who went to the fever tents at the site to offer medical care, also died from the disease.

“He is known as the martyr mayor of Montreal,” said Keyes. “So many people from all backgrounds are a part of this story.”

Once the city of Montreal approves the move, then plans can start to be made for the park itself.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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La poursuite des fouilles du site Cartier-Roberval n’est pas au programme


En dépit des recommandations des archéologues, le site de la colonie fondée par Jacques Cartier en 1541 ne fera pas l’objet de nouvelles fouilles. Le gouvernement caquiste a plutôt annoncé la mise en valeur du promontoire de Cap-Rouge par l’entremise d’un belvédère et d’un centre d’interprétation de 8,4 millions de dollars.

Seul le cinquième des 1500 mètres carrés de la colonie éphémère a été exploré, et les fouilles interrompues il y a dix ans auraient pu être achevées pour une somme similaire, déplore l’archéologue Gilles Samson. « Si on avait ajouté 3 ou 4 millions, on y était. » Or, le temps presse, rappelle le spécialiste en évoquant l’acidité des sols et la présence d’animaux fouisseurs qui menacent l’ensemble des vestiges du promontoire, y compris les secteurs qui n’ont pas encore fait l’objet de fouilles.

« Il fallait faire des choix, évidemment. Il fallait être responsable, explique Jean-François Del Torchio, le directeur des communications de la vice-première ministre GenevièveGuilbault. Les 8,4 millions, c’est au niveau de la création d’un belvédère, d’une passerelle, c’est [aussi] pour continuer les recherches sur les artéfacts qui ont été trouvés. »

Le centre d’interprétation du site Cartier-Roberval devrait accueillir ses premiers visiteurs en 2022.


L’archéologue Gilles Samson est l’auteur d’un rapport faisant état de la dégradation avancée des restes de la première colonie française du continent qu’il a cosigné avec son collègue Richard Fiset. « Si aucune action ou mesure n’est prise, la disparition de ce patrimoine est assurée », écrivaient les deux spécialistes dans le document produit en début d’année pour le compte de la Commission de la capitale nationale du Québec (CCNQ), propriétaire des lieux.

En plus de creuser des tunnels au milieu des vestiges, les marmottes de Cap-Rouge se régalent du charbon de bois provenant des restes de charpentes incendiées par le sieur Jean-François de La Rocque de Roberval lors de l’évacuation de la colonie en 1543. L’oeuvre des animaux fouisseurs combinée aux facteurs climatiques a déjà fait disparaître 12 mètres cubes de sols.

« Les marmottes vont peut-être partir s’il y a de l’activité humaine sur le site, mais c’est à voir. Si le site n’est pas ouvert l’hiver, qu’est-ce qui va se passer ? » s’interroge M. Samson.


Les vestiges du site Cartier-Roberval ont été découverts en 2005 lors des travaux précédant l’aménagement de la promenade Samuel-De Champlain. La phase I des fouilles, lancée en grande pompe par le premier ministre Jean Charest, a permis de dégager 6000 artéfacts entre 2006 et 2008, au coût de 8 millions de dollars.

Pour M. Samson, la récolte d’une masse critique d’artéfacts est essentielle afin d’interpréter le mode de vie des habitants de l’ancien fort entouré de champs labourés et de moulins. Il espère toujours retrouver les sépultures des 85 colons décédés du scorbut ou à la suite d’altercations avec les Autochtones. Il lui faudra toutefois convaincre les ministres de reprendre le chantier. « On va collaborer avec le gouvernement, on va discuter, on va essayer de les amener à faire en sorte de faire un succès avec le site. »


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‘I don’t want to die alone in an alley’: Finding sanctuary at the Moss Park Overdose Prevention Site


« I’ve lost 11 friends this year … most people don’t lose that many in a lifetime. »

Dave Gordon reflects on the toll drugs have taken on the people in his life as he sits at the Moss Park Overdose Prevention Site sketching in his notebook. He’s been on and off opioids himself for decades.

« I don’t want to lose any more friends. »

More than 9,000 people have died from accidental overdoses in Canada since January 2016 — 2,000 of them in the first half of 2018 alone, according to numbers released by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

While Canada struggles with a relentless and deadly opioid crisis, places like the Moss Park site in Toronto offer help. They allow people to bring their drugs inside and safely use them under the supervision of trained staff.

CBC News was granted rare access to spend some time at the government-sanctioned Overdose Prevention Site and meet people who work there, as well as those who use it.

Gordon knows what’s driving the grim statistics around opioids only too well. He has overdosed, and described it as, « the most horrible feeling in the world. Feeling like my life was slipping away. I had no control. »

Dave Gordon sketches at a table in the Moss Park Overdose Prevention Site. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

He now spends his time at the Moss Park site — partly to use safely, but also because it’s a place to be with friends and it has allowed him to re-discover his love of drawing.

Gordon is also giving back, handing out harm-reduction safety kits in the neighbourhood to help others in the community.

I’m trying to pay society back for my mistakes.– Dave Gordon

« I’m trying to pay society back for my mistakes. »

The Public Health Agency of Canada says 72 per cent of accidental overdose deaths this year involved fentanyl. And a lot of them happen when people use drugs alone.

« So when people come here they feel safe. They feel supported, » says Sarah Greig, an overdose response worker at Moss Park. « They don’t feel shamed and blamed and stigmatized, as they have been by their family, by some health care providers and by some social service providers. »

Greig says the people who come to Moss Park are more like friends, and they are building a community.

The overdose prevention site began as an unsanctioned, volunteer-run outdoor tent in Toronto’s Moss Park. It had over 9,000 visits and reversed more than 200 overdoses between August 2017 and June 2018.

Medical supplies at Moss Park. The site has been seeing more than 100 visitors a day and reversed more than 50 overdoses since it received provincial funding in July.

After becoming a satellite of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre, the site received provincial funding and an exemption through the provincial OPS program, allowing it to move indoors in July this year.

Since then, it has had thousands more visits — over a hundred a day — and reversed more than 50 overdoses.

The future of these sites remains uncertain, however, as local and provincial governments grapple with their pros and cons and who will fund them.

Moss Park’s government funding is set to expire on Dec. 24. The organizers have re-applied, but the province is imposing stricter regulations on where overdose sites can operate, which could jeopardize the Moss Park operation.

The fact that the site might be shut down worries Akosua Gyan-Mante.

« We need more places like this, » says the 26-year-old, a regular at Moss Park. « I don’t want to die alone in an alley. »

The Moss Park site ‘is giving me a fighting chance,’ says heroin and fentanyl user Akosua Gyan-Mante. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Gyan-Mante never thought she would be a drug user — growing up in B.C. in a home with a loving father, she had dreams of being a doctor. She moved to Toronto six years ago, started college and had a son.

Then things fell apart. She began injecting heroin and fentanyl this summer after her boyfriend introduced her to it.

« I’m lonely and depressed, and it makes me feel better, » Gyan-Mante says, explaining that drugs help numb the emotional pain.

She overdosed at the site this past October. Greig was there to reverse it.

We need to nurture people and we need to point out people’s strengths instead of just identifying their weaknesses.– Sarah Greig

« We need to nurture people and we need to point out people’s strengths instead of just identifying their weaknesses, » Greig says, adding that people use drugs for a wide range of things.

« This is my support system right here … [the hope that this] shitty existence will get better, » says Gyan-Mante as she hugs Greig, wiping a tear from her eye.

« It [the site] is giving me a fighting chance. It gave me life. It’s giving me another day, another week, another month of being OK. »

Gyan-Mante, centre, overdosed at the Moss Park site this summer. Front-line response workers Sarah Greig, left, and Tony, right, reversed the overdose. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Far from just a place to use drugs, the site also offers a hot meal provided by donations, a warm place to hang out during winter, and information on support services if people want them.

The site operates from noon to 6 p.m. and is closed on Mondays.

« I hate Mondays, » Kevin Drake says as Greig watches him use heroin. « I’ve been to different sites. And this is the best. »

Drake says he has overdosed 15 times in his life. But when he is at Moss Park, he does not feel shame.

Instead, it’s replaced by pride. He is known as a guy who is always cleaning up, mopping floors and organizing the space, making sure it looks its best.

Sarah Greig watches Kevin Drake as he prepares a dose of heroin, to make sure he doesn’t overdose – and so she can take immediate action if he does. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

« I do worry, but I use Fentanyl … that’s why I come here. That’s why I choose not to do it by myself. Because here — you’re guaranteed to leave here alive. »

The site offers safety, and it also harbours stories of hope.

Drake got a job shortly after CBC’s visit. Gordon is being asked to speak at universities about his experiences, to help find solutions to community drug issues. Gyan-Mante is hoping to reunite with her son permanently.

And that hope is exactly the point of these sites, Greig says.

« When I reflect and I think about what I’ve been doing for the past decade, a lot of it is actually nurturing people and pointing out their worth. Convincing people that they are worthy of love and affection, and that they can do anything that they want to do. »


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Baffinland says worker dead after single-vehicle accident at Mary River site


Baffinland Iron Mines says a worker has died after a single-vehicle accident at the Mary River mine site. The company said in a statement that the accident happened around 5:06 a.m. Sunday morning.

The RCMP and the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission will investigate.

Baffinland said it has started a detailed internal investigation.

The Mary River mine is located on the northern end of Baffin Island, about 160 kilometres southwest of the community of Pond Inlet, Nunavut.


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