Two days ago, Toronto Life published an article titled "We Bought a Crack House." You can read the entire article for yourself if you want the full story, but basically here are the important facts: the author, Catherine Jheon, and her husband, already owned not one, but two downtown Toronto properties before buying said "crack house." They sold one for a sweet sum of $635,000 in order to facilitate the purchase, and in the process of buying the property displaced a bunch of poor, disadvantaged and needy residents.
It didn't take long for readers with half a brain to realize this story is completely ridiculous, and also completely insensitive considering the scarcity of affordable, public and subsidized housing in the Greater Toronto Area at the moment. People on Twitter are not letting the author, or Toronto Life get away with any of it.
if cash-strapped means being able to spend $1 mil to purchase/reno a home, then i know absolutely nothing— The Random Walker (@randomwalker23) May 30, 2017
"To get ahead?" These people were demonstrably already ahead. They owned two properties already, incl. a penthouse to move into during renos— Ben Johnson (@Ben_T_Johnson) May 30, 2017
Why don't you do a photo essay sampler of those "backlogged" repairs/units in TCHC housing.That'll be a real page turner, I can assure you!— Barri Cohen (@barridoc) May 30, 2017
This article is so stupid. I'm embarrassed I renewed my subscription.— R (@robstu) May 30, 2017
And while we certainly don't advocate for online bullying or some of the ways that people have been responding to the author online, many others have more eloquently pointed out that the author's conduct perfectly illustrates just how gentrification works to harm underprivileged and underserved communities the most.
Boring & offensive, nobody cares about their sob story. Maybe talk about why it's important to preserve rooming houses in Parkdale instead!?— Mixtamasa (@Rearaniva) May 30, 2017
This is gross. It's unfeeling and selfish. No one feels bad for you. Maybe you can donate some of your piles of money to...1/2— Rachel LP (@truedeceiver__) May 31, 2017
some of the real residents of Parkdale who are currently fighting against their slumlord. You have a beautiful home but your heart is ugly.— Rachel LP (@truedeceiver__) May 31, 2017
Both you, Catherine and @torontolife need to apologize for using poor people and people with mental health issues as your clickbait pawns.— Yuan Stevens ✨ (@ystvns) May 30, 2017
These issues are no laughing matter and are a real concern for the majority of young Torontonians (for more on the issue of rooming houses in Parkdale, watch this video). But sometimes the only way to deal with a messed up situation is through laughter, and lucky for us there's a ton of hilarious jokes that have come out of this as well. One user tried to creep the author's husband's website, which is incredibly "under construction."
And CBC Comedy couldn't resist the follwing article, which speaks for itself.
And perhaps most hilariously, someone actually set up a GoFundMe for Humphreys-Jheon family to "help pay off this family's debt of $730,000 so they can enjoy the three-storey detached Toronto home they evicted undeserving renters from in peace." Seriously, you have to read this GoFundMe; it's some of the best satire you'll read on the Internet. And you might even feel like donating when you learn that the organizer is actually planning to donate any proceeds to Parkdale Community Legal Services, The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, and ACORN Canada, all of which work for low income families and protect tenant rights.
Toronto Life has not made a statement about the article, and Catherine Jheon recently set her Twitter account to private.