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How LGBTQ Youth are Dealing with Drug Addiction

Pieces to Pathways is one of Toronto's few safe spaces for queer and trans youth with substance abuse issues.

Pieces to Pathways' Geoff Wilson and Tim McConnell, with Amelia Janusas, a  placement student from the Assaulted Women and Children's Counselling/Advocacy Program at George Brown College.

Pieces to Pathways’ Geoff Wilson and Tim McConnell, with Amelia Janusas, a placement student from the Assaulted Women and Children’s Counselling/Advocacy Program at George Brown College.

Content warning: this article describes first-hand accounts of drug use.

Before his first manic episode and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, RJ’s substance use was a daily routine. RJ*, 22, would use to get through university classes and his part-time job. Nights were spent drinking until he fell asleep.

“Whenever I could get my hands on any drug, whether it was ketamine, blow, ‘shrooms or MDMA—whatever would skyrocket my mood—I’d use, and smoke weed once the comedown kicked in,” RJ says.

He calmed his highs and managed his lows like this—until he woke up one day in a psychiatric ward. His mind was wiped clean of a month’s worth of memories.

As an inpatient, he was told by hospital staff that he was in a “safe space.” For RJ, a bisexual trans man, those words were of little comfort. What was actually a safe space for him was Pieces to Pathways (P2P), a substance recovery program created by and for LGBTTQQ2SIA youth ages 16 to 29.

Keep reading: How LGBTQ Youth are Dealing with Drug Addiction


The Torontoist Guide to Losing Your Pride Virginity

Pride newbies, we've got you covered.

Pride can be a bit overwhelming your first time out. There’s the month-long, jam-packed official calendar, which starts with a flag-raising ceremony and stretches on for an entire month. Every major institution in the city, from TIFF to the TSO, is getting in on the action. All your friends are RSVPing to different events on Facebook, and on top of all that, every square inch of the Church-Wellesley Village is plastered with posters advertising themed club nights and circuit parties. We haven’t even got to the parade itself, with hundreds of thousands of revellers and multiple stages, each with their own series of performances.

How’s a newbie to make sense of it all? With the Pride festival officially kicking off today, Torontoist offers its best advice for navigating the celebrations to come.

Keep reading: The Torontoist Guide to Losing Your Pride Virginity


Graffiti vs. Ads

The red hare-ing that is graffiti.

poser abm

BY: Poser, ABM
PHOTO BY: Bella Manu
FIELD NOTES: It’s been a while since we’ve featured Poser’s rabbits. We’ve missed you, pal! Many people would have a negative knee-jerk reaction to the obvious graffiti. Yet, despite being equally unlawful, the ads beneath the graffiti go relatively unchallenged. Why is it that in cases like this, where the surface in question is in no danger of lowering property value or costing owners extra money in repairs, there is still a bias against this sort of creative contribution? Why do ads get a free pass for profiting off public space while artists are villainized? If authorities turn a blind eye to advertising agencies should they not also do the same for graffiti artists? Discuss!

Once a week, Vandalist features some of the most interesting street art and graffiti from around Toronto. Find something great? Email


Does Your City Councillor Support Bike Lanes?

Use our handy chart to find out!

On a scale of Mike Layton to Giorgio Mammoliti, how much does your City councillor support bike lanes?

For the two aforementioned councillors, this is a fairly easy question to answer. One of them is supportive of bike lanes to the extent that he made a Star Wars spin-off about cycling infrastructure, while the other despises them to the extent that he wished Councillor John Campbell (Ward 4, Etobicoke Centre) would “get a flat” the next time he rides his bike downtown.

But most city councillors have a somewhat less radical stance on the subject. Some are generally pro-bike lanes, while others are generally opposed to bike lanes. More notably, however, is that some councillors who are publicly in favour of bike lanes often oppose bike lanes when voting in Council.
Keep reading: Does Your City Councillor Support Bike Lanes?


How Riding the TTC Has Affected My Mental Health

I commute four hours every day, and it has worsened my stress and anxiety.

Every day, I spend nearly four hours on the TTC. I’m from the east end and I work in west end, and travel is about two hours one way. Being underground for such a long time complicates a lot of my everyday functioning. I can’t eat, drink, or nap on the subway without a high level of anxiety. It’s grim and gloomy down there. Sometimes, I feel like I’m being buried alive in a mobile cemetery because I’m exhausted from the confinement.

Public transit has always been a hot topic for debate among politicians, media pundits, advocates, and commuters like me. But left out of most conversations has been the impact the TTC has on the mental health of Torontonians—especially those from low-income neighbourhoods with long commutes.

Keep reading: How Riding the TTC Has Affected My Mental Health