foodbenders

Toronto restaurant owner fears harassment over police protest sign

A Toronto restaurant owner says she fears for her safety after receiving threats and spotting people filming her outside her Bloor Street store.

Bloordale take-out lunch restaurant, Foodbenders, has posted what they say is evidence of bizarre video encounters and threats on their Instagram feed.

The owner, who doesn’t want her name mentioned in this article, said the harassment started after she wrote a “F*ck the Police” sandwich board sign outside her restaurant. The sign is a political statement about policing as a racist institution, she said.

“It (the sign) was put out there during the day of the (anti-racism) protest and that same day officers started trolling me and started coming around, lingering in front of the store,” the owner told blogTO.

She believes people are being encouraged to protest by a few individual Toronto police officers. One Toronto police officer posted a story about the restaurant in his Facebook feed and responded to a comment, “Head on a swivel. Stay the course,” with “No question. On both counts.”

Toronto Police Service communications officer Connie Osborne said they would not comment on the issue and encouraged the “ business to report any concerns they have to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director which is responsible for overseeing all public complaints about municipal, regional and provincial police in Ontario.”

Foodbenders has posted a few of the comments they have received.

“You are disgusting!!!! Please don’t ever call the police for anything,” someone wrote in a message, adding that she should remove the sign from the sidewalk.

“You people are racist, go back to your country,” another comment reads.

In one video encounter, a man is standing outside Foodbenders holding a poster of a blue police shield with a Canadian flag in the middle and the words “Support Police.” When asked why he is outside Foodbenders, the man says, “I am a supporter of the police.”

In another video a man is sitting across the street on a motorcycle filming her.

Foodbenders owner said she has called the police a few times but fears the officers are the ones encouraging the harassment.

“It’s really deep and scary,” she said. “These people are hunting me now.”

Lead photo by

Foodbenders


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Eat & Drink

This hidden store in Toronto sells nostalgic Taiwanese street food

Iconic Toronto diner is closing until it's allowed to open its patio

Award-winning Toronto restaurant gets into the empanada business

Three homesick friends are bringing Venezuelan street food to Toronto

Hard hit Toronto cafe is looking to collaborate with neighbours and people are loving it

Popular Toronto brunch spot closes as owners feel unsafe amidst worsening pandemic

This is the love story behind one of Toronto's favourite Portuguese bakeries

Tim Hortons shuts down their flagship Innovation Cafe in Toronto