West End Phoenix Stories

Every month, we select a few stories from the pages of WEP to publish online. To get the full extent of our printed fabulousness, please subscribe and support the writers, editors, photographers and illustrators in your neighbourhood and city, town and country. 


Rumble in the West

Rumble in the West: Getting Down in Etobicoke with the Women of the Square Circle

STORY BY Alicia Elliott
PHOTOS BY Sarah Palmer


A black-clad woman crouches in the corner of the squared circle and stares straight ahead, scowling, each hand reaching up to clutch one of the thick, black ropes on either side of her. Her lips are black, her hair is green, but the light makes everything look varying shades of red. This is no horror movie villain. This is Samantha Heights, a 28-year-old professional wrestler from Cincinnati, Ohio, waiting for her chance to prove herself in Smash Wrestling’s CANUSA Classic, the biggest women’s wrestling show in Canada. This year, the tournament is taking place at the Franklin Horner Community Centre in Etobicoke, the same place Smash got its start. 


In Ksenija's Kitchen

In Ksenija's Kitchen: Bosnian Soul Food The War Couldn't Touch

STORY BY Ivy Knight
PHOTOS BY Candace Nyaomi


Ksenija Hotic is changing when I arrive at her apartment at Shaw and King. Her friend Yesha, with 3-month-old Sebastian in her arms, ushers me in as Hotic calls from the back that she’ll be out in a minute. Her apartment – full of crystals, decorative plates, doilies and framed photos surrounded by potted plants and hodgepodge bunches of flowers – is a blur of colour. So is Hotic, who emerges in a dress, a kaleidoscope of purples and pinks. “It’s very Bosnian,” she laughs, offering ginger tea. “I get the ginger juice from Bolt on Queen. When I grate it myself it just isn’t strong enough.”