Bench warming

November 4, 2011

We’ve raised $1,300 and still counting!  Thank you to all. If you would like to participate, you’re invited to leave a donation at the counter at Alternative Grounds, Another Story and Mabel’s Bakery.

The photo is from our posting of Oct 25, 2007. The wreath and candles were placed anonomously in memory of Silvio, a homeless man who was beaten up and left to die nearby.

Two photos of a home-shaped memorial for Tony

November 2, 2011

Photos by Kelvin Soh: Oct 29 in Dufferin Grove Park.

If anyone knows who created this stunning objet d’art, please let me know in the comments section. Thanks.

The way of perfection

October 31, 2011

Over the last five years, Tony and I spoke many times about Halloween; three instances found their way into the blog.  He once told me that Halloween was the perfect holiday for kids because “they aren’t forced to go to church for that one”.

Tears in heaven

October 29, 2011

I couldn’t not post this cartoon, Tony having looked forward to heaven for so long. If he’s checking our blog from his remote location, I expect the cartoon has set him laughing  — to the point of happy tears, I hope.    🙂

Donations to help the Roncesvalles community buy and install a commemoration bench for Tony

October 27, 2011

Until Saturday, the TD Canada Trust branch (one block south of Howard Park Ave) is accepting donations. If we end up with more money than we require for the bench,  the surplus will be used in a fashion acceptable to Tony’s family and to the volunteers involved in the ongoing commemorative effort. [Ed Lamb is in charge of donations; if you want his contact information, please email me at

The photo above is from our posting of Aug 20, 2007.

Funeral arrangements for Tony

October 24, 2011

Tony’s obituary from today’s Toronto Star.

Funeral Details: The reception will be held tomorrow at the  Turner & Porter Funeral Home, 436 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto (at Howard Park Ave.), from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 25. Funeral Mass will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 263 Roncesvalles Ave. (at High Park Blvd), Toronto, on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 11am.

(The  photo above is from our post of June 23, 2009.)


Updated: Come celebrate Tony’s life — Monday, Oct 24, 6pm at Alternative Grounds

October 21, 2011

[If you can’t make it Monday evening but wish to contribute to the purchase anad install of a commemorative park bench: Today, Sunday October 23 between 2pm – 4pm , the inimitable and well-bearded Ed Lamb will be accepting donations at Alternative Grounds, 333 Roncesvalles Ave.  (Sorry for the short notice.) There will be other options to donate if you can’t make it today or tomorrow  — Ed is also making arrangements with the RBC to accept donations; I’ll post the details once they’re finalised.]

Here’s the poster for our celebration: Tony Poster – Oct 24 2011. Feel free to print it and post it around your neighbourhood. We’ll also be collecting donations for a permanent memorial: A park bench and commemorative plaque, to be installed near Tony’s regular spot.

See you there.


Tony lives on

October 20, 2011

Hello all,

Wow. The billowing response to Tony’s death is quite beyond what he might have imagined or hoped. He would have been delighted.

Ten days ago, in anticipation of the fifth anniversary of HomelessManSpeaks (October 23rd), I asked Tony what big difference the blog had made for him. His answer: “I found out I could get to the kids and tell them … don’t do what I did … they’ve gotta stick it out in school and just stay away from drugs and alcohol and especially the hard stuff.” (A terrible fact: Tony was first coaxed into using opiates at the age of thirteen.)

As to memorial services and such, watch this space — people are working on it. Tentatively, we’re planning a reception at Alternative Grounds sometime this weekend.

See the many, many extraordinary comments to the previous post.

Tony died today

October 18, 2011

Hello all,
I have received several messages from readers and friends and two people have posted about this sad news, the but I haven’t confirmed it directly.

I subsequently received a call from Officer Therrien of the Toronto Police confirming Tony’s death. Please read the many comments below.

Here’s a wonderful article about Tony in the Toronto Star.

(Thanks to Stephen Evans for the photograph of a street shrine for Tony; come leave a message if you’re in the area.)


And not a word was spoken

October 13, 2011

“So I’m just going to post that you didn’t really have anything to say today, OK?”

“That’s what I said.”

Real hot

October 12, 2011

“This heat is unreal out here. October 11th. You know, I think it’s global warming for real this time.”


October 7, 2011

“You know who I saw yesterday?  You won’t believe it. It was my daughter and my two grandkids with her. I didn’t even know it was them when they were standing there. Then there’s a boy, he comes up to me and hands me a $5 bill. So of course I say thank you and he says that I shouldn’t be thanking him, I should thank his Mom, you know, Tanya. So there’s Tanya standing there and we talked a bit. That was a treat.”

Homeless man gets new lease

October 4, 2011

“So what changes for you now that they’ve decided you don’t have lung cancer?”

“Not much. It’s just a new lease on life, if you know what I mean.”

Looking good

October 3, 2011

“Did you hear my good news?”

“Not that I remember.”

“Well I don’t have the cancer in the lung they thought might have it. I was just at St. Joe’s with my doctors and that’s what they told me.”

“What about the other lung?”

“They don’t know yet but it’s looking good if you ask me.”

The wrong trousers

September 19, 2011

“Oh man, those are some special pants you’ve got on this morning; I wish I had my camera for them.”

“You like ’em?”

“Errr … in a word, no.”

“Well you should try dressing on my budget.”


Why worry?

September 8, 2011

“Are you updating the blog? Somebody said you weren’t.”

“Well, I wasn’t but I just did finally yesterday.”

“Well that’s good because I didn’t want anyone worrying about anything.”

Back on the track

September 7, 2011

Apologies for the radio silence in the last weeks. As you will have been able to read from the comments in the last post, Tony is out and about, having left the hospital several days earlier than the doc would have it. Here’s a picture of Tony the day the day he left St. Joe’s. Amazing.


Tony is in surgery today

August 23, 2011

He left me a message last night. I haven’t yet had a chance to visit him.


Tony in the hospital

August 20, 2011

Hi all,

He called me from the hospital a couple of hours ago. He was waiting to be admitted and expects to be there for a while. The next time I speak to him I’ll make sure he tells me why he’s there but I do know what he’s on an intravenous feeding tube. Meanwhile, he could really use a sandwich; he always feels  underfed when in hospital. I’ll try to see him tomorrow.

More when I know.


Oh brother, where art thou?

August 18, 2011

“I haven’t seen you around so much lately.”

“Well we’ve moved — you know that.”

“Phil, I don’t mean to sound stupid, but sometimes I move every night, if you  know what I mean.”


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