pams roti toronto

Pam's Roti in Toronto saved after community raises enough money to pay the rent

Pam's Roti has been saved from eviction by crowdfunding, in a bright spot of news for the city.

About a week ago, owner Jameloon "Pam" Bacchus Singh issued a public plea for help to try to convince her landlord, Henry Goldberg, to apply for the CECRA program that would allow her to subsidize the rent at Pam's Roti, since he had refused on the grounds that it was "too much work."

The surrounding neighbourhood flew into an uproar, City Councillor Ana Bailao even getting involved by writing a letter to the landlord. Despite his refusal to apply for the rent subsidy program, two separate GoFundMe initiatives have raised over $10,000 to keep Pam's open.

One called "Help Save Pam's Roti From Eviction" has raised over $6000 and new donations have been disabled, and another called "Save Pam's Roti Shop" has raised $4,729 of a $5,000 goal.

"The restaurant is so busy as of Monday. Pam is so thankful so, so many of her loyal customers and new customers are supporting her," says Singh's sister, Hassena Baksh, who is helping out at the restaurant right now. She says she's sent out messages to take down the funds at this point.

"I haven't called Goldberg. I know Pam has now the money to pay the rent for at least two and a half months from the money raised but I am hoping he applies for the subsidy. He is just a jerk, insulting me that I can't read and write. He has post dated cheques."

Unfortunately, it's not the first time a small business has been threatened with closure in Toronto during the pandemic because of a landlord's refusal to apply for subsidies. Even with the money these campaign's have raised for Pam's, it's still barely enough to get the restaurant to autumn, especially if it remains closed to dine-in service.

That means it's still crucial to support small businesses in whatever way we can at this time, although it shouldn't be restaurant regulars and the local community that have to step up to the plate to help them out with rent: it should be landlords.

Pam's has also been donating meals to frontline workers at hospitals, and Singh has been making updates to their Facebook page expressing her gratitude for the outpouring of support and explaining how she has been emailing the Mayor, Premier and MPP.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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