Toronto business is blaming gentrification for its move out of Chinatown
After nearly a decade of operating in Chinatown, a health clinic has been evicted from their building as part of what business owners describe as ongoing gentrification in the area.
Six Degrees—a wellness clinic offering affordable services like acupuncture and counselling from practitioners including members of the queer and trans community—was recently evicted from the main floor of 204 Spadina Ave.
"We were surprised to learn that our current location will be a part of the landscape of gentrification in Chinatown," said a sign taped to the door of the building in December.
"We went through many feelings: shock, sadness, disbelief."
According to co-owner Lamia Gibson, the old building had been undergoing renovations since March 2018.
Gibson says they were were assured the construction would only last two months, and that the clinic could continue to operate during the installation of air conditioning and heating systems.
"The work was really loud and it was poorly managed, and so it was hard to find time to do work," says Gibson.
But by September, they were informed by the landlords that the building would need more work done.
"So they told us, 'You're just going to have to move out.'"
They weren't offered the option of moving back in to the space after construction was completed, so were forced to find an alternative location that could accommodate their accessibility needs while making services affordable.
"We made every effort to stay in Chinatown, but the commercial rental rates have gone up by three times the amount since we moved in," said the sign. "And it was impossible to afford a space in the neighbourhood that was either ground level or had an elevator."
The business has since re-opened in a significantly smaller space at Dundas and Dufferin, where Gibson says they're now paying less than the $8,000 a month they were paying in Chinatown.
"It was sad to leave, we loved the building and it was just beautiful," says Gibson. "That gentrification that we've been seeing happen, is happening."
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