The encampment at the corner of Victoria and Weber Streets in Kitchener has undergone several changes, including an eviction day that came and went.

Since the makeshift encampment formed last year, it quickly grew to more than 60 tents. It has since shrunk as some encampment residents have moved away.

Residents of the encampment, who successfully advocated to council for washroom access earlier this year, were handed down an eviction notice in early June with an end of the month deadline.

According to regional councillor Elizabeth Clarke, the plan has always been to vacate the encampment before the fall in order to make way for a transit project.

In November, a legal battle over the encampment began in court.

Months later, Justice M.J. Valente released a decision that dismissed the region's bid for an injunction, and declines to declare the homeless individuals living in the encampment in breach of a regional by-law.


At the corner of Weber and Victoria Streets, the makeshift community started to slowly grow. On March 24, there were 14 tents housing nearly 20 people.


As the encampment grew, so did the call for access to basic human necessities, including washroom facilities.

In mid-April, it was estimated the encampment consisted of more than 30 tents.

Near the end of April, councillors approved a recommendation from staff to provide 24/7 access to washrooms for those living in the encampment.

The call for access to washroom facilities was a continuous request from those living in the encampment who said it was a basic necessity.


The Region of Waterloo noted the encampment could pose a high saftey risk and hinted the encampment residents should be prepared to move away from the area


An eviction date of June 30 was set for residents of the homeless encampment.

The region posted a notice at the camp after saying the encampment has grown rapidly in the last few weeks and now had more than 50 tents.

Kitchener’s mayor, Berry Vrbanovic, said he was open to considering interim solutions while the Region of Waterloo worked to find permanent housing for those living at the encampment.

The region said no one would be forcibly removed from the site on the eviction day.

Instead, the region said it would ask the courts to decide what should happen next.

On eviction day, the encampment remained unmoved as those living there were joined by demonstrators who lined Victoria Street in front of the encampment.


On July 13, the Region of Waterloo filed court papers to remove the encampment.

As part of the process, the court has ordered the region to take extra steps to make sure encampment residents are aware of the process and can find representation.

The next day, free legal clinic representation was offered for those living at the encampment.

The Waterloo Region Community Legal is offering its services pro bono.


The Region of Waterloo council approved a series of measures on Aug. 11 to help ease the growing homelessness crisis, including a first-ever decision to permit an encampment.

When announced, it had four major components: expanding the transitional housing program, expanding home-based supports to help people find and pay for affordable housing, creating an additional emergency shelter space and permitting an encampment.


Emergency crews were called to the encampment at 9:16 a.m. on Oct. 11 due to a fire.

“I woke up this morning and next thing I hear is ‘there’s a fire, everybody get out of your tents,’” said Terry Kaan who lives at the encampment.

“I came out, the one tent was just a blaze.”

Smoke billowing from the large fire could be seen from kilometres away. Crews were able to quickly extinguish the flames, but not before they reduced a structure at the camp to rubble. No injuries were reported.


On Nov. 7, the legal battle over the encampment began in court.

Monday’s proceedings started with submissions from lawyers representing the Region of Waterloo.

Aside from laying out the region’s case as to why it should be able to remove people living at 100 Victoria Street, they also want court direction on how to carry out a possible eviction.

On Nov. 8, legal aid lawyers representing people living at the downtown property presented their case in court.

The lawyers disputed the region’s claim that the encampment is unsafe, dangerous and chaotic.

Instead, they’re saying the region didn’t take adequate measures to address residents’ concerns, including not properly dealing with a rat problem, putting a porta-potty in place several months later than required and not adequately addressing fire hazards.

On Nov. 16, lawyers from both sides summarized their cases on why the residents should or shouldn’t be evicted.

At the time, housing solutions were brought forward, with the region saying if the eviction is approved, they will offer the residents first dibs on 50 per cent of new shelter spaces coming online.

The encampment lawyers countered, saying the region cannot offer these people an adequate number of safe accessible shelter spaces, and until they can do, they should be allowed to stay at 100 Victoria Street.


The Region of Waterloo announced the location of its first hybrid shelter, sometimes referred to as a managed encampment.

Region of Waterloo commissioner of community services Peter Sweeney said people living in unsanctioned encampments on regional property will be prioritized for access to the hybrid shelter.

Those at the Victoria Street encampment on Tuesday who spoke with CTV News said they love the idea, although they're not sold on the location.

"I would do anything to have something warm to put my head down at night. That would be fantastic... just to get back on my feet. That's stability," said Jessica, who lives at the site. "If I had the chance to have a little home, I would take care of it."

The location of the hybrid shelter at 1001 Erbs Road proved to be an issue as some encampment residents said the location does not offer enough services.


Two months after the courts heard the legal battle over the encasement began, Justice M.J. Valente released a decision that said the encampment can stay.

The ruling reads in part: "The region does not have adequate, accessible shelter spaces for its homeless population of some 1100 individuals."