jinglepear deli

Toronto restaurant owner facing eviction from home for trying to keep business afloat

The owner of a Toronto restaurant that's a neighbourhood favourite is facing eviction from her home after devoting her money to keeping the business afloat.

Sinead Hammons, owner of Leslieville's Jinglepear Deli, could not have anticipated the challenges that were about to arise when she signed the five-year lease on her restaurant in the first week of March, 2020.

In spite of the really, really bad timing for opening a business, though, Sinead managed to cultivate something of a cult following among the city's vegan community and members of the neighbourhood, in the four years since.

It hasn't been easy to keep the business alive and, according to a GoFundMe that's recently been gaining traction online, Sinead is now facing eviction from her own home after making the decision to invest her money into the business to maintain a livelihood.

"My mom has been the epitome of resilience and determination, working seven days a week since she opened her vegan deli over three and a half years ago, all while shouldering the responsibilities of being a single parent," writes Clive Moore, one of Sinead's children, in the description.

The determination that has, against all odds, kept the business afloat, though, has also led to Sinead pouring all of her money into the business, and becoming unable to pay rent on her apartment where she lives with two of her four children.

"[F]or the past year my mom has only been able to pay half of the rent on her apartment, making the difficult decision to take a risk and put everything she had into the business to try and maintain her livelihood," Clive writes.

Sinead had hoped, according to Clive, that the economy would bounce back faster after the pandemic than it actually has, planning to have already paid back the rent she owed. Instead, her debt has only grown.

"My mom has been paying rent in Toronto for over 35 years, often working 2 and 3 jobs to make ends meet, and she has never been in this position," Clive writes. "She has always been a good tenant and has never been evicted for non-payment of rent."

This is not a case of Sinead choosing to go down with the ship that is her business, but rather an all-too familiar example of the double bind that more and more small business owners are finding themselves in in the wake of the pandemic.

The business has to stay alive in order for the owner to earn a livelihood, but, if the business costs more than it makes, it becomes nearly impossible for the owner to support themselves financially.

"Her greatest fear is that if she is forced to leave her rent-controlled apartment, she won’t find anything else she can afford in Toronto, and that she will actually end up homeless," Clive writes. "It’s a terrifying reality that my family may soon face."

More concerning yet, Clive says, the same landlord owns the Jinglepear property, and Sinead fears that they'll evict her from that space, too.

The purpose of the GoFundMe, Clive explains, is to raise funds to pay Sinead's remaining back rent, in an attempt to stop the eviction, for which her landlord has already filed an order.

"If an agreement with the developer/landlord cannot be reached or if the Tribunal rules against her and orders an eviction, she will be forced to move and the collected funds would be used to cover the costs of relocating the family and begin to repay the debt," Clive says.

"My mom literally never asks for help," Clive writes. "So that is why I’m asking you."

As of the time of publication, there is a hearing scheduled for the eviction order on May 16, and the fundraiser has earned nearly $5000 of their $15,000 goal.

Jinglepear Deli is located at 245 Greenwood Ave.

Lead photo by

Jingplepear Deli

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