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Queers swing into action to help Wellesley fire victims

Neighbours mobilize on Twitter, IRL

A view of the fire at 200 Wellesley St E, Sept 24. Credit: Michael Mooney

UPDATE, 6PM, SEPT 26: The City of Toronto has released an updated list of ways people can help those left homeless by the fire at 200 Wellesley St E. Donations can be made at the Wellesley Community Centre or the 519 Church Street Community Centre. Cheques can be made out to “The City of Toronto, 200 Wellesley St Fire” and are tax deductible.

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Queer people swung into action to help their neighbours, after hundreds of people were displaced in a Wellesley St fire on Sept 24.

Overnight, people showed up at the Wellesley Community Centre, bringing water, baby formula and even cat food to those who were not allowed to return home.

The fire consumed several units in a Toronto Public Housing building at 200 Wellesley St E. The building is one of the city’s largest public housing high-rises, with about 700 units.

About 1,200 people live in the building; none were allowed to return home. About 200 residents — many with nowhere else to go — were evacuated to the community centre. 

People shared their stories and mobilized on Twitter, and folks mobilized around the #wellesleyfire hashtag. Mayoral candidate George Smitherman and Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray both pitched in, locating food for those who were stranded.

Over the weekend, those who are stranded will need food and personal items (toothbrushes, clothes, etc). Cash donations can be mailed or dropped off (Monday to Friday) to 514 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1P4.