During the Toronto city workers strike in summer 2009, residents descended on a downtown city park to drop off their garbage. What the city hadn't counted on was fierce protest from the community over the use of green space as a waste storage site.

Garbage Day is a verité style documentary on the affects of the garbage strike on Toronto’s Christie Pitts neighborhood. Through complete emergence in the strike, I was able to obtain a very unique perspective. 

The resulting footage strongly resembles what you would expect from a Frederick Wiseman film: Moments of conflict between union members and a city manager, or between a resident and a health inspector are captured up-close. As are moments of unexpected cooperation and generosity. The net effect is the realization that despite the bureaucratic decisions that brought them to this point and regardless of their ideological views, these people have much in common.

Although there are several recurring characters in the film, the star is the park itself. As garbage bags and leachate fill the space, so does a sense of sadness. Empty pools and playing fields are intercut with shots of piles of leaking garbage bags, dying insects and rats. The film concludes with the main characters looking on as the garbage is finally cleared, reflecting on a decision that should never have been made. 


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