old sod toronto

Toronto bar robbed while attempting to stay in business by selling Christmas trees

A Toronto bar has posted disturbing footage to social media showing their business being robbed, and after trying everything to stay in business including selling Christmas trees, has now had to resort to starting a GoFundMe to remain open.

The fundraising page, which also has pictures of the incident that took place early Monday morning, is calling for $12,000 to help 45-year-old business The Old Sod survive.

Owner Tyler Owens told blogTO the incident was "a run-of-the-mill smash and grab," adding that one man broke two doors to get into the bar around 1:15 a.m. and was only inside for about four minutes. Nevertheless, in that time he was able to incur expensive property damages, smash one POS system to take everything in the till and take another entire cash box.

Owens lives above the bar and said he became aware of the incident right away when he heard the smashing, and even almost ran into the robber when he tried to exit through a door that was blocked by the Christmas trees they've been selling. The stolen tills contained the majority of their Christmas tree sales.

Owens said he never planned to resort to creating a GoFundMe, but the combination of the stolen money, repairs needed and broken POS machines is too much for them to recover on their own when they were already "running pretty thin before."

He also says the community has helped out a lot by purchasing trees, but it's "not like they were winning the lottery" with that side hustle when they're already losing so much business during what's normally their busiest time of the year.

December is often their most profitable month, according to Owens, due to folks visiting for the holidays and pub crawls, and The Old Sod usually relies on business during this time to get them through the slower months of January and February.

Owens says insurance isn't a good option in this situation because most insurers aren't taking on hospitality accounts at this time, considering them high risk. The Old Sod will have to pay for all their unfortunate expenses out of pocket, as Owens doesn't think they'll be able to get a claim.

As far as what's immediately next for The Old Sod, they still have around 80 trees left to sell off and are also remaining open selling food, booze and merch. Even if you don't donate to the GoFundMe, maybe someone on your list would appreciate a sweater or bottle of vodka? 

For now, Owens says they're "gonna keep battling." He added that The Old Sod has "been through tough times before," that they're going to "keep grinding through to the New Year and keep watching regulations," and that they're not going to let one guy close them down.

Still, Owens says the most ideal thing that could happen to help them would be being allowed to reopen for indoor dining. For all our sakes, let's hope he gets his holiday wish.

Lead photo by

The Old Sod

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