A longtime resident of 670 Page Street who was evicted last month after a drawn-out fight that catalyzed San Francisco tenant rights groups has died at age 100. Iris Canada was hospitalized shortly after February 10th, when the locks on her former apartment were changed, finalizing her eviction. According to an account from the anti-eviction group Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, confirmed by SF Weekly, Canada suffered a stroke over the weekend and passed away Monday.
Canada, who may have occupied her Page Street abode for as many as 70 years, was not at home when her eviction was finally ordered last month by a Superior Court judge and a notice was delivered to 670 Page. Instead, and already in ill health, Canada was staying with her niece and frequent spokesperson, Iris Merriouns, in Oakland. At that time the news of the eviction hadn't been broken to her yet.
Canada was granted a lifetime lease of $700 a month when the building she occupied was purchased by Peter Owens, Stephen Owens, and Carolyn Radisch in 2002. These owners wanted to convert the six-story tenancy-in-common building to condominiums, which would have required a signature from Canada that she refused to grant, despite an agreement that she be allowed to stay. A legal back-and-forth later ensued, centered on whether Canada had violated the terms of her lifetime lease by living for periods of illness, including a previous stroke, with relatives and in care facilities. Canada's landlords argued that her apartment had fallen into disrepair and had not been her primary residence since at least 2012. Merriouns, Canada's niece, insisted Canada be offered the opportunity to buy the property at a discounted price, which didn't come to pass. A court ruled in favor of the landlords, and though Sheriff Vicki Hennessy at first delayed the formal eviction process due to Canada's health, she changed the locks last month.
"This is what we said, this what we kept saying again and again but no one listened," Tommi Aviolli Mecca of the Housing Rights Committee told 48 Hills. "We said she will die if she’s evicted that she won’t be able to overcome this shock. We’ve seen it time and time again,”
A vigil for Canada at her former residence of 670 Page Street will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, from 5 to 7 p.m.