Keepin’ the Grounds


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Every story is connected, you never know how it may connect until you ask the most important first question, “Hi, What is your name?” once you shake hands to seal that new connection, a whole new yarn of stories are spun from that very first human privelege. I am fortunate, my time on the streets have built pockets of trust and I always appreciate when I am able to build that first moment with a smile, shake and exchange of names. Names are important, it is who we are, it is our identity, regardless of our social or economic status. I met Binky and Zeus with that very principle in mind, during our entire conversation, Binky was intent on always addressing me by name. It’s a small thing, I did appreciate hearing him recite my name any time he wanted to share something else with me.

Binky and Zeus aren’t ‘homeless’ in the sense that they don’t have a place to sleep at night. Binky assured me that he was thankful for the friends who care for him and his pup Zeus. He stays on the west side on Queen St, it’s safer and less careless people pass him by. Binky, during Toronto’s busy festival season, usually finds work as a grounds keeper cleaning up the streets of the remnants left behind. He has his vices, cigarettes, a little weed here and there, but can’t bring himself to lie, cheat and steal. He’d rather embarrass himself humbly during crunch time between pay to get some extra cash by panning for money.

In my first shot, you will see Binky reading the paper. He doesn’t usually follow the news, on this particular day, some hopeful news had arrived in the arrest and charge of a suspect regarding a high profile murder case of another fellow streeter. Someone Binky had spent quite amount of time with. As you’re able to see, Binky is all smiles regardless of it all, in describing his last moments with his now deceased friend, the smile faded. He said “George didn’t deserve that, he was just a nice simple guy who didn’t know any better’.