tempered room toronto

Award-winning bakery cafe in Toronto closes due to restrictions

One of Toronto's most popular pastry shops is currently closed due to restrictions, issues with their current space in an old building, and, well...just everything.

Tempered Room has been through difficult times on both a business and personal level over the past couple of years. 

The patisserie is known for making exquisite pastries with breathtaking presentation and even more amazing flavours. Think French onion soup rolls and croissants loaded with the contents of an entire cheese board.

Lately it's not just their creativity that's been in overdrive, though: they already had to fundraise just to pay staff in 2020, and tried to strategize to collaborate with neighbours to survive in 2021. 

Now, in 2022, they're at the end of their rope.

Tempered Room owner Humera Ali says "thousands" of people were begging them to cater and host events heading into 2022, and they were booked solid for microweddings throughout all of January. A new variant and new restrictions meant all of them were cancelled in a "refunding nightmare."

Ali's eight-month-old and two-year-old then caught COVID-19, resulting in the hospitalization of the infant.

"Two weeks of trying to get her to just breathe through the night," Ali tells blogTO. "My parents who help a lot with childcare are elderly, and I was in absolute fear of exposing them."

Tempered Room was closed at that point, but they tried to reopen it for February and Valentine's Day, a big time of year for patisseries.

"We were immediately accosted by an anti-masker who would not leave, and had to close down that day," says Ali.

"I also do social justice work personally, and right wing warriors who take offense to me tend to find my business online, and take it out in the reviews. The building we are in is also old, old, old, holes in the infrastructure, flooding, electrical issues abound. The freezer for instance is not working again."

There's now a sign in the window reading "CLOSED. The gov't made biz tough...the anti-vaxxers, the entitled customers, the abusive ignorant and the far right...have made it impossible." The sign still notes their social media handle and advises people to follow for updates at the bottom.

"We're mentally, emotionally, physically spent. There's no making payroll, everyone is just waiting on the sidelines. We are considering reopening the patisserie as a small operation, just the two of us," says Ali.

"We are also considering taking on partners, investors, joining up with another patisserie, or even selling shares. An investor or someone to join us on the business side of things while we run the food and events would be ideal."

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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