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Stalag fences for our high school

How much barbed wire do we have in and around Leaside?

Not much, you would say, and you’d be mostly right. We have no prisons, livestock farms, no trenches separated by No Man’s Land. No need here for the fierce deterrence barbed wire affords.

We have lots of fences in our pleasant community, mostly wood, a few wire. We have a few No Trespassing signs and innumerable hedges. But on a quick survey it doesn’t seem that any neighbourly disagreements have resulted in anyone stringing the rough stuff.

The wood, plastic, and wire fencing protecting housing sites and endangered trees is conventional, benign, often perfunctory. Major construction sites, such as the Whole Foods complex at Broadway and Bayview, are also conventionally fenced.

Oddly, you will find strands of barbed wire topping the wire fence around Mount Hope Cemetery on Bayview north. No nocturnal intercourse there between the quick and the dead. On the other hand the security fences at Mount Pleasant Cemetery are unbarbed and probably climbable. Who knows what happens there at midnight?

Tourists in search of authentic Leaside barbed wire should head for the old industrial district south of Eglinton and east of Laird. There you will find many parking lots, construction sites, factory premises, even vacant lots ringed by six-foot wire fences topped with double strands of barbed wire.

But if you look closely at most of these compounds, you’ll notice that the wire is often fairly woebegone and droopy, rusty, tangled, well past its best before date. In most cases the fortified fencing is incomplete, giving way almost randomly to unwired new fencing. Probably there was a special on barbed wire in the old days of Canada Wire and Cable; nowadays nobody bothers.

Except that suddenly in 2015 we have a major new player on the Leaside barbed wire scene. Recently Metrolinx has fortified its Crosstown construction yard on the grounds of Leaside High School with a 6 «-foot fence, topped with three strands of outward leaning, densely-barbed wire. Also with lights and security cameras. The fence is cloaked in opaque black cloth, so no one can see inside the yard (except that it’s already being shredded – inside the yard are piles of dirt and junk). There is no jagged glass in sight, nor evidence of guard dogs, but on the whole our tax money has produced a pretty good example of state-of-the-art stalag fencing right there on the grounds of our community high school.

Walk to the Eglinton side of that site, or to its satellite site across Eglinton on Donlea, or any of its other sites in Leaside, and there is no barbed wire at all. Metrolinx has confirmed with me that they thought special security was needed because of the site’s proximity to Leaside High.

Risk minimization, in the public interest. Take that teenagers!