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MARIANA WINZER Staff Writer
Some St. Catharines residents feel unsafe after a recent shooting incident there and it is not because of the sudden increase of gun violence.
The wholesome creative community is what brought couple Hayley Teal, 23, and Mayar Nestoruk, 23, to downtown St. Catharines.
“It’s relaxed and relatively quiet compared to downtown Toronto or downtown Vancouver. I would see familiar faces everytime I leave the house.”
Nestoruk talks about the appeal of closeness in his community.
They both have lived in the surrounding GTA for a few months each, for post-secondary education, as well as for work.
The St Catharines shooting happened on Sept. 6 in the Geneva/Niagara St. neighbourhood, just a short eight minute walk from Teal’s and Nestoruk’s apartment.
With this shooting really close to home, Nestoruk mentioned the sense of being desensitized to “thoughtless violence” due to places he has resided in before and recent shootings in the GTA.
What makes Nestoruk uneasy is the community’s reaction.
“I’m noticing a bigger class divide. People were really concerned in their own safety rather than being concerned on how they were behaving in the community.”
Although St Catharines has the art appeal of Toronto, it also has its downsides.
With it being a smaller community, the openness and inclusivity that Toronto has is not fully present in St. Catharines.
The class divide was noticeable before, but after the recent shooting it is more prominent than ever.
“Now I’m noticing how people are treating people like the homeless differently, and that is what bothers me the most,” says Teal on the change of environment in their community.
“It’s almost as if St. Catharines isn’t as whole as I thought,” Nestoruk adds.