adamson bbq

Adamson BBQ is once again operating without a business licence in Toronto

Adamson Barbecue has repeatedly been in the spotlight this year thanks to owner Adam Skelly's insistence on defying lockdown rules, and now it seems the restauranteur has once again decided to break the law by continuing to operate without a business licence.

After Skelly deliberately opened his Etobicoke location for indoor dining several times in a row despite laws against it back in November, it was revealed that his original Leaside location had been operating without a business licence for four years.

Skelly first opened the 176 Wicksteed Ave. location in East York in 2016 without securing a licence to do so, and he and his corporation have been convicted for operating without a licence a total of three times since then. 

Earlier this month, Skelly also admitted to The Star that his Etobicoke location also does not have a business licence.

Following the days-long saga at his restaurant, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa issued a Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) requiring the Etobicoke location to shut down entirely. 

Last week, that order was lifted, and Skelly was informed that he could offer takeout and pickup as long as his business was in compliance with the City of Toronto's business licencing bylaw and had passed a DineSafe inspection.

"The City of Toronto's Executive Director of Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) has written to the owner of Adamson Barbecue warning that he must comply with all relevant laws, including zoning and business licensing bylaws, and that failure to comply 'may place your future business licence status in jeopardy,'" reads a news release from the city published on Dec. 14. 

"In particular, the letter also advised that the owner is 'prohibited from carrying on the businesses unless and until he has a valid licence.' The failure to operate without a business licence can result in a maximum penalty of $25,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a corporation."

The MLS letter also warned Skelly that a court may order that the premises be closed for up to two years if an owner is convicted of knowingly operating without a business licence.

While the Etobicoke location remains closed, according to the Adamson Barbecue website and Instagram page, both the Leaside and Aurora locations are currently open, and a spokesperson for the city confirmed that this is despite the fact that the Leaside location still does not have a licence to operate.

"The relevant business does not hold the requisite business licence," the spokesperson confirmed to blogTO.

"Municipal Licensing & Standards has laid several charges for operating without a licence and has issued a further warning letter. Businesses are prohibited from operating without the requisite business licence."

Skelly is already facing numerous charges related to his blatant flouting of the provincial government's COVID lockdown rules, but it remains to be seen whether the city will take further action against him for directly defying their order to obtain a proper licence before serving the public.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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