grey tiger toronto

Owners of Toronto cocktail bar evicted from their home right after Christmas

Between Christmas and New Year's, the owners of a Toronto bar received a very unexpected and unwelcome late gift: an eviction notice from their landlord.

Grey Tiger owners Ryan Ringer and Becky Ip posted about the situation to social media, expressing their frustration and concluding with a plea for leads on a new pet-friendly place to live.

"A few days after this Christmas, we received an N12 notice from our landlords indicating their intent to evict us from our home after 9 years of good tenancy," reads their statement.

"The N12 notice was an upsetting and frustrating note to end the year on and has created another layer of stress and uncertainty on top of everything we're already dealing with—the perpetual pivot of keeping Grey Tiger afloat, along with exacerbated mental health issues, existential anxiety, and the general ennui of living in these aftertimes."

Writing to blogTO, Ip and Ringer explained why this is an especially Scrooge-like time to be evicted.

"Navigating this has suddenly and unexpectedly taken up so much of our time and energy. The holiday season just ended, the rent on our commercial space was raised this month (how is that allowed during a pandemic?), and Ontario's liquor laws have been amended to allow licensees to sell bottled cocktails for takeout and delivery," they write.

"We really need to devote ourselves entirely to developing new product, updating our webshop, promoting our offerings, and otherwise getting ready to thrive through the winter. Instead, we're obsessively searching for a new home, following leads, and scheduling and attending viewings, on top of consulting with paralegals, lawyers, and real estate brokers. The timing is just terrible. We're exhausted."

If you're wondering how you can help these business owners out in this terrible situation, they're asking that you join them in putting pressure on Doug Ford, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and your local MPP to issue an emergency order to stop evictions.

"We find it incredibly callous and reprehensible that our landlords would even attempt to displace two small business owners (of a uniquely devastated industry) in the middle of a pandemic, and that our government would let this happen," Grey Tiger's statement continues.

"It's also a cruel joke that we devoted so much of ourselves these past years to raising the vibrancy of the strip, only to be potentially priced out of it in our search for an equivalent apartment."

They're also asking that people sign a petition from Davenport MPP Marit Stiles to help organize to stop evictions during the pandemic. 

"Ontario's eviction moratorium was lifted in August, despite public pressure to maintain it. No one should be forced out of their home during a pandemic, especially now, when the situation is much worse than it was during the first wave when the moratorium was ordered," says Grey Tiger's statement.

"The non-binding NDP motion calling for the reinstatement of the eviction moratorium passed unanimously last month before the House adjourned for the holidays. Now we need @fordnationdougford to demonstrate that he really is 'for the people' and issue an emergency order to stop evictions immediately."

Having always lived close by to their place of work, Ip and Ringer say that the community they've always relied on is the one thing that's been a ray of hope in the dismal situation.

"Despite everything, we're really touched by how many people have reached out to share apartment leads, and to tell us that they've signed the NDP's petition demanding the restoration of the eviction moratorium," they told blogTO.

"A lawyer from Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario reached out to us offering legal advice. It's truly heartening during a difficult time, and we're so grateful for the community around us."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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