Residents trying to save beloved Toronto bar on Ossington

Jan 11 2021, 1:14 pm

For almost 20 years, Sweaty Betty’s has served Toronto’s west end community on the Ossington Strip, and now they need the public’s help in keeping this piece of the city alive.

A GoFund Me page has been set up by organizer Jessica Thomson, a self-proclaimed long-time friend of May Brand, the owner of Sweaty Betty’s.

Due to the financial strain caused by the pandemic, Thomson shares how during the summer months, over $15,000 was used in renovations for COVID-19 when restaurants and bars were able to re-open in the summer and a front window replacement, which was a set back financially.

“There has been next to no government or other help for her along the way. She is drowning in debt, and she really needs our help now. We want this special space to be there when we can safely get back to normal again,” said Thomson on the page.

“All funds raised will be used for rent and utilities, which haven’t been easy to pay since the bar has been closed for nearly 6 months this year.  The funds raised will help the bar stay alive over the winter months.”

At the time of writing, over $9,961 has been raised to help the local bar.

“May’s poured her blood, sweat, and tears into keeping this iconic bar a safe space for everyone, especially since there are so few queer spaces in the west end of the city,” said Thomson.

“May is well known and loved in both the queer community and bar industry, and
she’s made Sweaty’s the success that it is today.”

Many Toronto restaurants and bars have felt the pain and struggle of having to maintain a business during these unprecedented times, despite the financial hardship, Sweaty Betty’s hopes to remain afloat until bars are able to reopen once again.

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