Homes not Bombs, (416) 651-5800

No Room at the Inn:

As the homeless are forced to sleep on the streets of Toronto, a massive armoury sits empty.


December 24, 2002, Toronto - On Xmas Eve, about twenty-five elves, reindeer and Homes not Bombs members joined Santa Claus to ask a simple question: why is there no room at the Moss Park Armoury for the hundreds of homeless people in the immediate neighbourhood?

"Homelessness does not take a holiday," said Claus as he inspected the grounds of the armoury. The massive building was completely empty--even the regular security who are there to monitor the Tuesday evening vigils were not present. On a chilly evening like this, it was another reminder that a building which should be declared surplus by the federal government and turned over to the city for affordable housing remains a little used war training camp.

"Obviously, we don't want a war training camp period, so to say they ARE using it for that purpose does not meet the needs of the community, which are for homes, not bombs," Claus said. "As someone who needs to keep tabs on who lives where, I can tell you that last year, the government of Iraq built more social housing units than Canada. This country was too busy spending hundreds of millions of dollars using its military to enforce deadly sanctions against the Iraqi people." A massive 6 foot high, 75-foot banner which read, "Why is there no room at the inn?" was affixied to the front walls of the armoury, and the slogan Homes not Bombs appeared magically beneath the lead artillery piece at the armoury's entrance.

At the normal vigil spot, warm clothes, fresh fruits and vegetables and holiday treats were distributed to dozens of folks who passed by and stopped to chat.

Claus, who stayed for most of the vigil but had other plans for the evening, declared that he would continue working on the issue from the North Pole, and encouraged others to do their part by writing a quick note to the following individuals, urging that they take action to declare the armoury surplus and turn it over to the city with the stipulation that it be used for low-cost housing for the homeless. "Don't take no for an answer," Claus said. "The choice of using this building as a war training camp kills twice--it deprives people of shelter here in Canada, leading to death on the streets, and it trains people to kill abroad."

He also asked folks to join the weekly vigils, every Tuesday evening from 6-7:30 pm just east of Jarvis and Queen. The next vigil is New Year's Eve at 6-7:30pm.

(This campaign has been endorsed by Councillor Jack Layton as well as the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee).


Bill Graham, Member of Parliament

365 Bloor St. E, #1703

Toronto, ON M4W 3L4

Tel: 416-954-2222

Fax: 416-954-9649

(Moss Park is in his riding)


John McCallum, MP

Minister of War

8392 Kennedy Road, Ste. A17

Markham, Ontario

L3R 0W4 Canada

Tel: 905-479-8100

Fax: 905-479-3440


Ottawa Parliamentary Office

Tel: 613-996-3374

Fax: 613-992-3921

Room 110, Justice Building

House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0A6 Canada


Claudette Bradshaw, MP

Minister Responsible for Homelessness

Parliament Hill Office

Room 356, Confederation Bldg.

House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Tel: (613) 992-8072

Fax: (613) 992-8083


Kyle Rae, City Councillor

100 Queen Street W., Ste. A5

Toronto, M5H 2N2

Tel: 416-392-7903

Fax: 416-696-4300


(Moss Park is in his riding)


Pam McConnell, City Councillor

100 Queen Street W., Ste.A7

Toronto, M5H 2N2

Tel: 416-392-7916

Fax: 416-392-7296


(Moss Park borders her riding)


George Smitherman, MPP

410 Sherbourne Street, Main Floor

Toronto, Ontario

M4X 1K2

Tel: 416-972-7683

Fax: 416-972-7686

(Moss Park is in his riding)

For sample letters on this issue, e-mail or call us at (416) 651-5800 ext. 1 and we'll get something to you.

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