Rag Trade


This morning, on our front porch, we found a copy the May 2010 edition of the Ward 31 News. At first glance this appeared to be another in the long line of harmless community newspapers that circulate around the city. Upon closer inspection I realized that "harmless" would be the last word I would use to describe this rag.

Right there, on the front page, in an editorial entitled "Vote NO to Smitherman" was this nice piece of hate speech:

"Furious" George (nicknamed for his aggressive and abrasive manner) and his hubby have been approved as adoptive parents by the Toronto Children's Aid Society.....not that there's anything right with that. Obviously, educated citizens do not approve.

The rest of the article, and in fact the entire paper, is riddled with inaccuracies, typos and difficult to read, often incoherent ranting. So, who is the brain trust behind this bastian of journalistic integrity? A quick google search of the Editor, one LeRoy St. Germaine revealed not a journalist, but a music festival producer with a troubled relationship with City Hall.

A disturbingly naïve profile of LeRoy St. Germaine on Walrus Magazine's blog, where they paint him as some sort of anti-establishment hero, reveals that he started the newspaper (and two others like it for different wards) to feed his personal vendettas against certain members of city council, most notably Sandra Bussin (Ward 32) and Janet Davis (Ward 31). The blogger at The Walrus asked him how he started up his newspapers:

I picked up the telephone and started pitching ads. You know what? I’ve watched this [Toronto councillor Sandra] Bussin for a few years now, okay? And her actions disgust me… I’m just a guy who’s not into unjust and unfair things. That’s all. I’ve been in the sales game all my life and selling ad space is nothing new to me. So what do I need to put out a newspaper? The ability to raise the money, which is to sell space. And the ability to write a little bit, which I have. I’ve seen too much of this Bussin, I’ve seen her crush the little people around here. I’ve seen the conspiracy of it all. I’ve seen the games they play, and I thought, ‘somebody’s got to get even with you’.

Now, I'm not worried about Bussin or Davis or Smitherman or any of the politicians that he attacks in his newpapers. Dealing with public dissent is part of being a public servant. They can take care of themselves. In fact, Bussin appears to be suing St. Germaine with a little help from Toronto's tax payers.

What worries me is the kind of hate speech, that he so casually tossed around in the Smitherman editorial, being spread around my neighbourhood every month. The only way St. Germaine can continue to print his rags is if he continues to raise advertising money from local businesses. As someone new to small business ownership, I understand all too well the desire to reach local consumers. It is my hope that the advertisers in St. Germaine's papers don't know about the kind of hate he espouses and that once it is pointed out to them they will realize that their advertising dollars are better spent elsewhere.

It took 4 redirections on the newspaper's helplessly out of date website to find a rate card for his advertising, but what I discovered is that companies like Marble Slab Creamery who have a colour ad on 1/3 of the front page of the May 2010 edition of Ward 31 News likely spent somewhere in the neighbourhood of $800.00 to be associated with St. Germaine's hateful ranting.

I should acknowledge that this is a personal, memoir style blog. I realize you're used to hearing me talk about my photography, pop culture and my pregnancy. I don't get political here too often and certainly not in a way that isn't more...abstract. The thing is, this is personal to me. This neighbourhood is where I've decided to put down roots. I've spent a great deal of money getting into the real estate market in Ward 31. This is where we are going to raise our family. And I'm not going to take this kind of hate speech landing on my front porch lying down.

I hope that, whether you are a resident of Ward 31 or not, you will join me in this attempt to shine a light on LeRoy St. Germaine's hate speech and show his advertisers that where they spend their advertising dollars matters. I have sent this blog post on to all the advertisers in this issue (listed below) and hope that they will respond in a positive manner. Until that time, I will be boycotting their establishments and services and hope that you will do the same.

Please feel free to link to this post, email your friends and contacts, call and email the advertisers and in fact, give LeRoy St. Germaine a call at 416-693-6325. No apathy...let's put a stop to this.


844 Danforth Avenue

ANA Renovation Services
1543 Kingston Road

Henley Health Group
Moravac Chiropody Professional Corp.
1089 Kingston Road

Metric Renovations Ltd.

Dog & Pet Service
"Call Marlene"

QS Nails & Spa
1089 Kingston Road Unit 7B

Right at Home Realty Inc.
Bruce Palait, Sales Representative
Direct Line: 416-200-7479



The following businesses have pulled their ads from Ward 31 News in response to the call for a boycott. I am very grateful to them for their swift, positive responses. May their positive actions not go unnoticed! Let's SUPPORT the businesses that are no longer advertising with Ward 31 News!

D&G Trophies
1517 O'Connor Drive

The Feathers Pub
926 Kingston Road

TNT Custom Contracting

IGS Systems
1268 Danforth Avenue

Marble Slab Creamery
2032 Queen Street East

Celestial Stained Glass
862 Kingston Road

Aske Canada
2813 Danforth Avenue

Centres for Early Learning
391 Dawes Road

Fairney & Sons Contractors Ltd.

Dr. Cirone, Chiropractor
Victoria Park Chiropractic Rehab Centre
3100 Danforth Avenue

Tire Depot
3465 Danforth Avenue

Agni Restaurant
2825 Danforth Avenue


  1. Anonymous8:13 PM

    Nicely written, Tracey. Good for you for taking a stand.

  2. Anonymous3:26 PM

    I respect the work you are doing. I don't live in ward 31 but I support your cause and quest for the dignity and respect of all people in print publications that serve Toronto communities!

  3. Jim V4:44 PM

    I just sent some hate mail to Marble Slab Creamery to drop it or I am not coming back until they do!

  4. I've sent my letters. I'll let you know if anyone responds...

  5. Jim V, Carly, thanks so much for rolling up your sleeves and pitching in!

  6. Julia1:32 PM

    Hi Tracy - we apparently live on the same street, according to mutual friends (namely gail and chelsea), although we have yet to meet in person. I'm looking forward to it. I have received Ward 31 News and also find it ridiculous and offensive - your post is excellent. I've noted your list! Looking forward to reading more (and maybe meeting one day in the 'hood)

  7. Hi Julia! So glad to know you come here via two of my very favourite people. We must arrange to meet. Perhaps a bbq or something when Gail is back in town?

    Thanks for your support on this. Stay tuned!

  8. Anonymous9:08 PM

    I do not find ay male respondent here in your blog.Why?

  9. This Ward 31 news got Sandra Bussin kicked out of office--- despite his spelling mistakes--- and the largest vote on record of 380,000 votes for Ford

    Sour Grapes

  10. Hi Leroy! Thanks for your comment. I'd suggest that Sandra Bussin is the one who got Sandra Bussin kicked out of office (I know I would not have voted for her if I lived in her ward). At the end of the day, if you want to take credit for the votes, that's great, if a little deluded. The boycott was not about Bussin, Ford, Smitherman or any of them. It was not about politics, period. It was about your blatant, homophobic hate speech. Way to miss the point, yet again.

  11. Anonymous7:43 AM

    Hi Tracey, It's almost 5 years later, and I just ran across this article after getting the most recent ward 31 rag and wondering who the crackpot is. I'm amazed by how many advertisers he has in the latest edition. Any chance you would consider a similar post so that your followers might consider remounting their complaints to advertisers?

  12. Anonymous5:14 PM

    hi tracey,

    i've recently been creating an info campaign against leroy and ywn after they endorsed several well known neo-nazis in their recent issue on the municipal election. there have also been recent articles that were blatantly racist, sexist, and homophobic. we came across your blog doing some online research into ywn, and thought you might be interested in our current work.





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