‘It’s unlivable’: Toronto tenants protest at Medallion office over poor living conditions

Residents living in buildings owned by Medallion Corporation took over the lobby of the company's main offices. They demanded that the landlord better deal with maintenance issues and poor living conditions. Mark McAllister was there.

By Mark McAllister

Toronto tenants at odds with property owners and building managers over maintenance issues continue to be a critical issue in the city, which generally ends up with letters being exchanged — until renters start to organize and visit the landlords.

City residents comprised of tenants in buildings owned by Medallion Corporation tried to deliver a message, starting with a petition demanding better living conditions. This eventually resulted in raised voices with signs and flags taped to the company’s lobby walls.

“It’s gotten to the point where we can’t handle it. It’s unlivable for us,” said tenant Robin McDowell. “We can’t do it anymore. We’re here to demand in person because we have sent as many legal and appropriate ways to get a hold of them.”

Michael Regan, a tenant at 670 Parliament Street in St. James Town, says deteriorating conditions prompted his participation in the protest.

“I live on the main floor, and there was a crack in the foundation. It rained. All the water came in and heaved the parquet flooring,” Regan explained.

“It washed in bugs, bedbugs, cockroaches, everything. I had to fight them for two years to fix it.”

Toronto police called to Medallion office

The Medallion tenants say they’ve made numerous attempts to reach out with concerns and complaints. Nothing has come of it.

More than 10 police officers arrived on Thursday and quickly escorted the protestors from the Medallion offices without charges being laid.

“Toronto police say that we need to leave. Are they going to try to arrange a meeting? I found this very strange because I never heard of something like that,” said Alejandra Ruiz Vargas, a spokesperson with Toronto Acorn.

CityNews reached out to Medallion for comment on the issues these tenants are facing and the action taken today and did not receive a response.

Instead, the Medallion provided a statement to CityNews calling the group “self-appointed tenant activists.” The organization said it would focus on “actual residents” while providing a “safe, secure, and well-managed rental community that meets the needs of the people who call it home.”

“It makes them think,” said McDowell. It makes them go, you know what, maybe we do need to do something. If so, this can escalate to somewhere else, and they get fined, or they’ll do something or get something they don’t want.”

With files from Lucas Casaletto of CityNews

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