By Annie Grunwil
I, like hundreds of other Torontonians, made the mistake of going to Trinity Bellwoods Park this weekend, when it was far too crowded for attendees to maintain safe social distances. But I want to be absolutely clear that I did not make this choice for the selfish reason of wanting to party with friends or catch some sun on a warm day. I did it because I missed my favourite summer Toronto activity: peeing in bushes.
For me, peeing in bushes is synonymous with summer itself in the big city. It’s even more evocative of July than beers, a frisbee or a tan. A perfect summer day hasn’t really begun for me until I’ve sat down with friends on a picnic blanket in a place where there are no washrooms available, consumed 2-3 large beverages, left a conversation without explaining where I’m going, and marched straight into a bush to relieve myself. Doesn’t matter whether it’s lilac or mulberry, the important thing is that you’re just hidden enough from everyone’s view that it’s not weird, but you still get just a teeny, tiny bit on your shoes.
Needless to say, with the increased crowding in outdoor spaces, enjoying this part of my summer has gotten a lot tougher for me, and the longer social distancing measures are in place, the more likely people are to start challenging them.
Now, a lot of people have identified the lack of green space, infrastructure, and public amenities as possible reasons why people gathered in Trinity Bellwoods. But I also think it’s important to consider that there really aren’t a lot of bushes in Toronto you can really enjoy a good whiz in. Sure, Christie Pitts has a few, but if you’re not careful you could get caught up watching an outdoor movie at the film festival and forget you even have to go! And have you ever tried peeing in the Cedarvale Ravine? You have to walk so far to get to the bushes you might as well just pee in a real bathroom.
The point is, in these difficult times, we are all trying our best to do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Before you judge someone violating social distancing guidelines too harshly, consider the possibility that they might just be trying to go to the bathroom in a bush like everyone else.