Toronto cafe CafeTO in tug-of-war with coffee bars



Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Developments could mean Toronto Mayor John Tory takes on additional functions at CafeteriaTO

Toronto has proposed moving CafeTO, an “open cupboard” events space, to a permanent location, prompting an uproar from local baristas who question why such a local enterprise would be replaced.

The idea to take CafeTO to permanent office space by means of a fundraising project would also enable Toronto Mayor John Tory to have some additional tasks.

CafeteriaTO was open from November until the end of last year, when it was relocated to a temporary location.

The proposal would take the coffee shop off the world map permanently and “subtly seal it off from its vulnerable community”, says an angry Toronto Coffee Depot advert on Twitter.

Image copyright CafeteriaTO Image caption The coffee shop was established as a community venue

In a statement posted on CafeTO’s website, the company says it “looks forward to sharing our plans for the future”.

The transition will mean that the cafe can work “in a way that allows us to continue to reach new communities beyond just one, physical home in Toronto”.

“Just as we are a different kind of business than the traditional mainstream coffee houses and those who hold other position on the spectrum, CaféTO may need to change its social positioning to be more acceptable to our primary market.”

The statement says that CafeTO’s workers are a vital part of their communities and for that reason their work should not be displaced.

Image copyright Caffe TACO

Developments at CafeTO were criticised in December after the company fired a French Canadian barista for saying she doesn’t want to support Trump because of his behaviour to women.

One of the victims of the Trump campaign, Brigitte Bardot, weighed in on Twitter , writing that she was concerned Trump would get away with abuse of women.

News of the plan was published in the city’s newsletter for families.

Toronto City Councillor Uxbal Irang Usandong told CBC Radio that the potential closure of CafeTO would be unfortunate.

“I know that there is a great community here. I’m concerned,” said Mr Usandong.

CafeteriaTO has been criticised for displaying an advertisement for a campaign to “protect your rights”, which some say could be interpreted as endorsing racism.

Image copyright CafeteriaTO Image caption A petition started on Change.org to “save CafeTO” has drawn over 90,000 signatures

Some local businesses want CaféTO to continue to operate, while others say it should operate as “a space for everybody”.

As CafeteriaTO details its plans, supporters of the coffee shop are calling for volunteers to collect funds on the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter.

“Here in Canada, we call it ‘making a donation.’ It’s a welcome step, a good and excellent thing to do,” said one commenter on CafeTO’s site.

Image copyright CafeteriaTO Image caption The coffee shop served coffee, lunch and hosted meetings at its temporary location

Image copyright CafeTO Image caption CafeTO has been taken to the World Cup for more recent sporting events

Image copyright CafeTO Image caption CafeTO was established in the fall of 2016 and offered a larger coffee menu than some coffee houses

Image copyright CafeTO Image caption CaféTO is now running its second espresso bar

Image copyright CafeteriaTO Image caption The cafe was first opened in November

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