second cup york lanes

York University is forcing Second Cup to close and students are upset

A beloved Second Cup coffee shop that has served York University students for more than 20 years will be no more by early next year. 

Located inside the university's indoor mall York Lanes, the Second Cup will not be allowed to extend its lease after it expires in February 2020—a move which some students and alumni are calling "baseless" and "discriminatory". 

A Facebook group called Supporter of Second Cup York Lanes has launched a petition last week demanding that the York University Development Corporation (YUDC), allow Second Cup owners Rouma and Sunil Taneja, who have operated the store since the beginning, to stay. 

"This location has hosted many community events, employed many students, provided a warm atmosphere for studying and hanging out, and has always been a welcoming home for many international students during holidays," says the petition. 

"The motives behind the closure are likely to be to significantly increase the rent for more profits." 

The petition has received more than 600 signatures so far, with a goal of 1,000. The Facebook group has also had plenty of activity, with many lamenting the loss of part-time students jobs that the cafe has been known to offer over the years. 

"The Second Cup at York Lanes was my home away from home for 4 years back in the 2000s," wrote one alumni in the Facebook group. "I wouldn't be who I am or where I am if I hadn't worked at Second Cup." 

According to the Tanejas' daughter, Naya, who posted in defence of her parents' business on the petition's page, the YUDC cited a lack of owner presence as one of the reasons for not renewing Second Cup's lease. 

"When my dad stepped down, my mom took on that additional responsibility and put even more time than she already was putting into the store," she said. "I believe that this accusation is rooted from sexism, believing that a woman cannot run a business by herself."  

Yanni Dagonas, the Acting Chief Spokesperson for York University, says the YUDC is already on the hunt for a new tenant.

"YUDC focuses on continually improving the level of services to the community," said Dagonas. "We intend to continue utilizing the space currently occupied by Second Cup for similar purposes, such as coffee and baked goods." 

Students are comparing the news to the loss of Blueberry Hill,  a beloved restaurant and one of York Lanes' original tenants that did not have its lease renewed back in 2011, to the surprise of both students and owners. 

Lead photo by

York Lanes

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