canada day toronto

Toronto restaurant won't be celebrating Canada Day and will give to Indigenous group

The recent discovery of unmarked mass graves full of residential school children at two sites nationwide have revived calls to end Canada Day as we know it given our country's abhorrent treatment of Indigenous communities over its history.

Residents nationwide have vowed to boycott the usual Canada Day festivities of fireworks and partying to instead recognize and mark the tragic legacy of our residential school system and other atrocities committed against the original keepers of the land we reside on.

Much like in Australia — where Australia Day is referred to by many as Invasion Day — residents are feeling increasingly wary about celebrating our confederation given what it meant and still means for some.

With this in mind, one Toronto restaurateur has decided to mark the day in a different and more appropriate way this year.

"Won’t be celebrating Canada Day (never have but ESPECIALLY won’t be this year)," Jenn Agg, the proprietor behind Bar Vendetta, Grey Gardens and Cocktail Bar wrote to her tens of thousands of Instagram and Twitter followers over the weekend.

Instead, Agg stated that she plans to open her establishments on the statutory holiday and donate 15 per cent of sales "across the board" to Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction, a local health service focused on getting critical support to Indigenous residents experiencing homelessness in the city.

She encouraged other businesses to do the same if they're able to, while also highlighting the 751 bodies of children found on the property of the old Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan last week.

Thus far, the response to the move has been strong and positive — with many calling it touching and vowing to support — inspiring hope that other establishments and individuals will indeed follow suit in finding other ways to honour July 1 for all that it represents, including the dark and the ugly.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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