– 4 –

 

Very much the picture of a front-line Torontonian activist, Mackenzie sat with her hands in the pockets of her zipper-festooned black leather biker’s jacket, her face defiant as she looked out the limousine window and thought of the Smiths.

This was once their turf — the four-square-block expanse of late 19th-century brick factories and warehouses where Smith and his ilk used to punch timeclocks and perform menial functions for hourly wages. Beyond that lay the neighbourhood of Parkdale, formerly known for the crappy cafes where Smiths ate crappy food, the hotels with cavernous taverns where, Mackenzie had heard, working class men and women continued to mingle even after the sexual counter-revolution. Back in those days there were modest houses and even more modest apartments and rooming houses teeming with white working class people, often entire families of them. All that was the old domain.

The factories and warehouses were already out of bounds to any lingering Smiths. Like her own bright new workspace, the buildings had all been renovated to suit the new professionals, with studio-offices, gyms, squash courts, tennis clubs, smart new cafes, lounges and restaurants where no Smith would dare enter, not even as a waiter. Mackenzie did miss the view from the Star’s office tower high above Yonge Street. She had enjoyed looking down on the little people scurrying beneath her. But this neighbourhood had a special appeal. Once enemy territory, it was now utterly transformed. As her police escort passed the sentries on Dufferin Street and turned north, she saw just a few remaining Smiths, easily identified by their baggy orange coveralls as they swept the streets. But, thankfully, most of the people were multiculturals. Or, judging by the occasional armed motorcade, other middle-class white women.

They were the new Canada, the hope and future of our country — middle class white women and immigrants. The immigrants came from pretty well every non-white country in the world, but many more from some countries than others. They came here to flee oppression, create jobs, bring diversity and enrich our culture.

The limo suddenly swung west on Bloor Street, an unplanned detour probably necessary to avoid a ruckus. Mackenzie looked out the window but couldn’t see past the Asian motorcycle cops riding alongside her.

The ruckus was now a nightly event and in some parts of the city continued throughout the day. Just some kids blowing off steam, everyone agreed, but you know you’re too close when oily smoke penetrates your limo. As a middle-class white woman, Mackenzie knew first-hand how those poor black kids suffered.

A few armed checkpoints later, Mackenzie’s motorcade slowed through the bomb-screening device and arrived safely at the gated community she called home.

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