janchenko bakery toronto

Toronto bakery slammed after owner complains about bike lanes

A European bakery in Toronto's Bloor West Village area is under fire after a series of incendiary comments on social media where the proprietor slammed bike lanes and got into petty name-calling squabbles with other users who disagreed.

Cyclists are vowing to pass on Janchenko Bakery at 2394 Bloor Street West after the decades-old establishment — known for its Eastern European pastries and comfort food — posted to Instagram over the weekend, rallying against bike lanes in the neighbourhood.

The post shared on Sunday (and deleted following the publication of this article on Monday) shows a picture of a Bloor Street West bike lane with the caption, "Every day, every morning and night. Cars stuck idling in one lane because of the bike lanes. Not a bike in sight. This is environmental?"

The comment was followed by anti-cyclist hashtags, including "#stopbikelanes" and "#stopthebikelanes," as well as other hashtags that have been used for campaigns fighting the City's limiting of car traffic in High Park, like "#savehighpark" and "#savebloorwestvillage."

janchenko bakery toronto

Many users responded by criticizing the bakery for its position. Some fired off angry comments, while others took the high road…errr…cycling lane.

One user replied, "Bike lanes don't clog up the roads - cars do. People won't make better decisions about driving and biking until it feels safe to do so — so, we build bike lanes. It's the urban planning version of Gandhi's 'be the change you want to see in the world.'"

However, the bakery fired back hard at this seemingly innocuous comment, writing, "You're a joke. You buy much on your bike? In winter? Take your mom to church? Your kids to school? Get a grip. You have no where [sic] to go on your t [sic] stupid bike once all the small baunesss [sic] lose everything. Grow up."

Customers were quick to call out the bakery for this response, with one user writing, "This should be a post for your personal account, not the business account."

The user continued, "Despite how you feel many of your customers use & rely on bike lanes. How many of these cars have only one passenger who could carpool or subway rather than pollute w[ith] their idling cars?"

"A difference of opinion doesn't warrant you calling your customers 'a joke.' That's just bad business," the commenter added.

Despite the quote above that literally says "you're a joke," the bakery owner proceeded to claim that they "didn't call anyone a joke," arguing, "I called the bike lanes a joke. And they are. I live and work here and I stand by my statement. This is not a one-off."

"I've seen the effects since day one. They are a bad bad joke," the owner continued. "They are dangerous and are destroying the local economy. But don't worry, soon the small businesses will all give up and you'll have a bunch of generic condos and big box stores to come visit. You can shop there on your bike with basket, even in the winter months November to March. It'll be great!"

One user said they would stop supporting the business over Janchenko's comments, typing, "Wow, I had no idea your business was so anti-bike. My son and I frequently come in for your donuts. Sadly I will go to somewhere else in the village to get them. You should really keep these types of comments off your business site."

The bakery replied to this comment too, saying, "Buy a car. Oops, you can't afford one. Sorry you're bitter about it."

Many pushed back at these and other comments, but the bakery doubled down at every opportunity to backtrack.

In one reply, the bakery's account wrote, "I stand by my comment. And I won't be bullied by cyclists. I see what I see, and the bike lanes are a danger to everyone including you."

Personal injury lawyer David Shellnutt tells blogTO that this is not the first time the restaurant owner has been at odds with the cycling community. 

"It's really distressing to see a local business that is patroned by cyclists continue to vehemently post content attempting to make riding a bike less safe," Shellnutt tells blogTO.

"We've seen posts from this bakery before wherein the owner was harassing BIPOC city workers for installing bike lanes. Just doing their job. It's clear they have an axe to grind and more so than bike lanes (proven to boost business) this type of behaviour will be to blame for any drop in sales they see."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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