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East Side Showdown

East Side Showdown

| 46 min

This feature documentary is a portrait of the downtown Toronto neighbourhood of Dundas and Sherbourne, where the gap between rich and poor is growing wide. There, middle-class homeowners, angry radicals, desperate drug addicts and people simply looking for a place to lay their head are embattled in a bitter struggle for space. Angel, a prostitute and drug addict, dodges the law. Bed-and-breakfast owner Renée rails against the sex and drug trade. Community organizer John Clarke advocates direct action in defence of the poor. And at the eye of this storm is Reverend Jeannie Loughrey, whose drop-in centre provides much-needed help for the poor, yet homeowners accuse the centre of harbouring criminals and are lobbying to shut it down. Contains coarse language and scenes of drug use.

  • director
    Robin Benger
  • script
    Robin Benger
  • producer
    Peter Starr
  • executive producer
    Louise Lore
  • associate producer
    Christopher Sumpton
  • editing
    Christopher Sumpton
  • photography
    John Westheuser
  • sound
    Alister Bell
    Steve McNamee
    Mike MacClymont
    Mark Obradovich
  • online editing
    Steve McDonald
  • narrator
    Nicholas Campbell
  • music
    Allen Booth


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Ages 15 to 18

Study Guide - Guide 1

History and Citizenship Education - Issues in Society Today
Media Education - Documentary Film
Social Studies - Contemporary Issues

Warnings: This film is for a mature audience and previewing is recommended. It contains coarse language, drug use (smoking from a crack pipe), violence (physical attack of a protester) and prostitution.

This film highlights the neighbourhood around the intersection of Dundas and Sherbourne in Toronto.  There is a mix of middle-class residents and people who cannot afford housing. In the 1990s, this area was known for prostitution and drug trafficking. Viewers may wish to discuss the conflict taking place between landowners and residents. Viewers of this film could do research to compare the situation in this 1990s neighbourhood to the current circumstances. Is the area impoverished today? In a broader sense, students could discuss or write about the conflict that takes place over land use in a city. 

East Side Showdown
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