toronto patio

Anti-vaxxers burn masks and harass Toronto patio patrons

The politicized campaign against basic scientific facts is finding new and creative ways to make Toronto collectively cringe in disgust. Born on your social media feeds, you can now experience aggressive anti-vax misinformation at a dining establishment near you.

Over 70 per cent of the city is now vaccinated, but many of the unvaccinated holdouts are showing increasing signs of hostility towards businesses that take a pro-vaccine stance.

Restaurateur Jen Agg, who has advocated for vaccine passports as part of a solution to future outbreaks, has been specifically targeted by these groups. 

Ever since taking a stand on the issue, her Dundas West haunt Bar Vendetta has been plagued by anti-vaxxer protests for weeks, and the situation seemed to escalate sharply over the weekend. These protests come despite the restaurant not actually requesting vaccine certification from customers, and currently offering outdoor-only service.

Twitter videos show a tense scene unfolding between patrons of Bar Vendetta’s patio and an anti-vax group wielding megaphones along with signs falsely (and insultingly) equating government-led vaccination programs to sexual assault and fascism.

In one video, a protester makes a show of burning a protective facemask in defiance of proven scientific conclusions that face coverings have been key in curbing the pandemic.

Another video shows tensions boil over with a confrontation between a particularly irate protester and a bar patron. The tweets identify the shouting protester as Michelle/Suzanne Robertson, who has been a noted presence at other anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown events.

Agg has been a respected and outspoken voice in the restaurant industry, taking praise along the way from food industry titans like the late Anthony Bourdain, and never afraid to shy away from positions on controversial issues like the celebration of Canada Day in 2021.

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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