Domenico Saxida is one of about two dozen people living in tents in Alexandra Park, near Dundas and Bathurst Sts.

Like many of them, Saxida is steadfast in his refusal to go into the city’s shelter system. “I have the right to choose and I choose to stay,” he said, explaining he feels safer in the park, even with winter coming.

Saxida, who is 50 years old, said his 81-year-old father, Antonio, died earlier this year of COVID-19 after contracting the coronavirus in his nursing home. Saxida said he knows the dangers of congregate settings in the midst of a deadly pandemic and that’s why he prefers his tent. “I don’t want to end up like my Dad.”