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lockdown restaurants gofundme toronto

As Ontario extends lockdown Toronto restaurants are turning to GoFundMe to survive

Toronto restaurants and other businesses are turning to GoFundMe as Ontario extends its lockdown, break-ins increase exponentially and they're left with expensive repairs and little business.

A flurry of GoFundMe pages have been started for Toronto businesses that have been the victims of vandalism, break-ins and other adverse circumstances just in the past few days.

A day ago Billy Truong of Billy's Burgers created a GoFundMe to support multiple businesses in Leslieville that were broken into with a goal of $2,000, and Ossington Stop created a GoFundMe to help with finding a new location yesterday as well, with a goal of $23,000. They've raised over $400 and over $8,000 respectively so far.

"In addition to all the COVID-related struggles, having to deal with the stolen property and replacing the broken windows is just another huge burden for the businesses to shoulder," reads Truong's letter on his GoFundMe page.

"Unfortunately, the insurance deductibles are often so high that the cost of repair will be entirely on the businesses to cover."

"I stated the GoFundMe the day after we experienced the break-ins as way to help all the businesses out with the cost of repairs," Truong tells blogTO.

"Every small business is currently struggling due to COVID, especially with this latest round of stay-at-home orders. I started this as a way for the community to show their support for their local businesses. All funds will be equally distributed to affected businesses in Leslieville."

Also yesterday, Triple A Bar created a GoFundMe finally asking for help after their third and most recent break-in, setting a goal of $15,000. They've raised about $4,000 so far.

"We had many reach out to see how we are, offering help, and some had even suggested starting one of these for us," reads the letter on the Triple A GoFundMe page, organized by managers Racquel Youtzy and Tiz Pivetta.

"We went back and forth - should we? no - yes - no - ok but no and now ok; we really could use the help."

Ossington Stop is in a slightly different situation, being forced to move due to an order from a Toronto fire marshall. Owner Denis Ganshonkov writes on the GoFundMe that he'll have to vacate the Russian bar's current Dundas West home by the end of the month.

"My situation did not allow for government help," Ganshonkov says on his fundraising page, "largely due to a new corporation that I had to open and register the business under after lengthy legal battle with my former partners' estate, which ended messy, which is why I had to start from scratch." 

"This looks like my only option."

He needs the funds raised to relocate the business, renovate a new space and purchase new equipment, and tells blogTO he "decided to go with GoFundMe because it is clearly proven to work" and that "it seems that it is of course easier for people to donate even a little bit, but in the grand scheme it makes a huge difference."

"My bank gave me a flat no, third party creditors would gouge, and outside investors are really hard to come by," Ganshonkov tells blogTO.

"I couldn't do a 'yard sale' because I don't have enough to sell off."

Things are going a little better for Coal Miner's Daughter, a clothing store on Roncesvalles, that had their front window smashed. Their GoFundMe, started three days ago, has already met the $10,000 goal.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns, of Billy Truong, Billy's Burgers.

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