Winston LaRose is lost on Shoreham. He is looking for a constituent’s house, an elderly Jamaican man who bumped into him on the street, knowing nothing more than Winston LaRose is the man who can help those in need. LaRose finds the address, and is waved inside. The house is one of the many housing units developed in the area and like the others almost destined to be torn down. LaRose and the gentleman exchange pleasantries before he is escorted upstairs to see the reason why he was sought out.
This house’s roof began leaking, first in the bedrooms and eventually to the closet on the main floor. The mold that descends down the wall has a brown tinge to it, apparently raccoons have been nesting in the crawlspace to avoid the cold. The elderly man explains that he’s been trying to contact the TCHC but he’s been given the runaround. The official word from community housing is that he’s living in a unit meant for three people and that he needs to be relocated. The man explains that this is home, this is where he landed, this is where he worked and raised his daughter. After forty years in this country, where else could he go? This a story that seems all too common in Toronto, gentrification by means of neglect. A quixotic battle it seems, but La Rose continues on.
LaRose makes a two hour commute to the area from Burlington to his office located in Yorkgate mall
Often there’s a line of people waiting outside, looking for his help with landlords, repairs and the police.
Many in the area have dubbed him as “Mr. Jane and Finch,” because of this tireless effort. The work seems a lot for any one person, especially for someone who recently turned eighty. But LaRose’s entire life has been dedicated to helping the disenfranchised. Winston started Hamilton’s first anti-black racist organization in order to help immgrants find housing in the sixties.
In 1994 he joined the Jane and Finch Concerned Citizen’s Organization, helping youth find jobs, start businesses and local festivals. His dream is to turn Jane and Finch into Toronto’s Harlem, bringing jobs and economic mobility to those in the area. He’s recently returned to his office after his trip to help the man with his house. He manages to take a seat at his desk for second before his phone rings. This is just another day for Winston LaRose, a man who simply refuses to slow down.