Bart Poesiat: Celebration of Life
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Masaryk Park, 3:00-5:00pm
(Queen Street West and Cowan Avenue – south of Queen)
This event will be live-streamed on PCLS’s Facebook Page.
Please visit Bart’s online memorial page to leave a tribute, share a story, memory or photograph: https://www.mykeeper.com/profile/BartPoesiat/
Dear Community Members,
Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS) staff and community members mourn the passing of Bart Poesiat. Bart passed away in May 2020, and PCLS is co-hosting celebration of life event alongside the Parkdale Tenants Association and the Parkdale Musicians Collective in honour our beloved colleague and community advocate.
Date: Saturday September 26th
Time: 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: Masaryk-Cowan Park (off Cowan Avenue just south of Queen)
In light of COVID-19, we ask that attendees wear masks and respect physical distancing from other attending. We are hosting the event outdoors in the park. Do bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on as there is no set seating unless upon request.
We will have both music and speakers. If you are interested in saying a few words, please let us know!
For disability accommodation, translation, and to RSVP, please contact Cole Webber: firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 531-2411 ext. 248.
About Bart’s work at PCLS:
Bart worked at PCLS as a community worker since 1984. He engaged in street level organizing with low-income tenants, roomers, boarders and persons who are without stable homes for over 35 years.
In the eighties, he played a strategic role in the organizing of a successful tenant campaign against a Toronto landlord converting apartments to hotels. In the nineties, he helped tenants organize several successful and prominent rent strikes. He was also active with the organizing of Toronto’s Street People’s Association for unstably housed Parkdale residents. Since the 1990’s and up to this past year, Bart has taken the lead at organizing the Rupert Memorial, in memory of ten rooming house tenants who died in a fire at the Rupert Hotel rooming house. The tragedy led to advocacy efforts and increased licensing of rooming houses that Bart was involved in for decades.
In the 2000’s and beyond, Bart kept busy helping public housing tenants in the West End organize against the many problems in their homes, owned by Toronto’s largest landlord, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. He worked closely with OCAP on several projects, including an ongoing fight back against oppressive zoning laws. With the Parkdale Tenants Association, he developed the ‘Golden Cockroach’, ‘Golden Weasle’, and ‘Lord of the Slums’ awards highlighting landlords’ and the City of Toronto’s indifference to stopping the deterioration of apartments in our City.
Bart was deeply committed to the activist nature of poverty law. He was able to relate and connect to people at a grassroots level, as well as engage law students with trainings on the history and demographics of the Parkdale neighbourhood, as well as provide mentorship to them during their training at PCLS. He played an invaluable role in strategic thinking, training and action at PCLS and within the clinic system on community development and organizing.
Most recently, Bart provided sage insights into the changing nature of legal aid services through the legislative reforms and budget cuts PCLS and other legal clinics experienced.
Bart is deeply missed but also remembered every day at PCLS and in the community as we continue to work on in the positive legacies he has left behind.