Toronto restaurant closes after sudden death of beloved owner
A restaurant in Toronto has closed after the beloved owner of the establishment suddenly died last week.
Harry Vandekemp, 54, was the owner of Golden Crisp Fish & Chips, he died on Thursday of a heart attack.
According to his obituary, Vandekemp had just finished work at the restaurant on Nov. 25 and was happily riding his bike home.
Just 20 minutes later, he got home and was walking up a flight of stairs, when he collapsed, the obituary added.
His wife, Judy, who has been married to him for over 30 years, says Vandekemp was a religious man, who was immensely kind and loving to everyone who walked into Golden Crisp.
"He would always say, Fish & Chips was just one aspect of the business, for him it was about connecting with the people, that made it so much more for him," his wife tells blogTO.
The restaurant, which has been in business for 60 years, has become an institution at Weston Road and Jane Street.
The community is mourning alongside the family, with many people sharing personal stories of how Vandekemp touched their lives.
Kimberly McMaster spoke about how Vandekemp offered her to wear his jacket when he spotted her without one on a cold winter day.
"I laughed and said I'm fine I'm only going across the street, he wouldn't let me leave before I put on the jacket. He said to keep it to get home...and he wouldn't let me leave until I promised to get home as quickly as I could," she said.
Others described Vandekemp as friendly, always smiling, and that his death is a huge loss to the Mount Dennis community.
"Will miss your smile and amazing outlook toward life, it will not be the same without you, Mount Dennis has lost one of the best business personalities," said James Lockhart.
Vandekemp leaves behind a legacy, with five children and four grandchildren, he shares with his wife.
Golden Crisp is set to remain closed for now, while the family grieves and sorts out their next steps, it's not clear right now on whether the closure will be temporary or permanent.
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