christmas trees toronto

Toronto bar is now selling Christmas trees to try to stay in business

A Toronto bar that can't get people into the holiday "spirit" in person in the usual way this year is finding a different way to spread cheer: by selling Christmas trees.

The Old Sod has already battled valiantly through the pandemic in a few ways. When lines for the LCBO stretched in front of their door, they came around with signs and guitars, advertising their bar where they were selling booze with no lineup.

When patios were allowed to be open, they set up their "Buddy Bar," a space meant for two seated six feet apart where friends were meant to be able to safely take in sports games and share beers together.

Now that winter is here, it only makes sense that they would have planned to get into the Christmas tree business. Old Sod owner Ty Owens has actually already been thinking ahead for a while now.

"We have deep inventory because several months ago I heard about this looming Christmas tree shortage, so we reached out to a reputable Christmas tree supplier in Hockley Valley, anticipating we'd be shut down again come the holidays," says Owens.

"We told him the idea and he was awesome to partner with us so he could sell more trees but also help support a struggling 45-year-old small business. It's a win for that Ontario tree supplier, a win for our small business and a win for the customer who gets a great tree from a convenient location in the GTA, but most importantly it means supporting local and helping us stay alive."

Everything is done safely outdoors at the back of the restaurant, where the trees are on display. In a large back parking lot, people stand in a physically distanced taped-off line and come up one at a time to pick trees. Employees are masked and stay distant from customers, and you can call to pre-order a tree.

"In Etobicoke it's a Christmas tradition to come to The Old So during Christmas holidays. Since we can't do it the usual way we're hoping to connect with our customers for a Merry Christmas this way," says Owens.

"The response has been great. We sold out of our first inventory of trees already and we have new inventory arriving."

Lead photo by

The Old Sod

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