Vegan Canteen Recovery

Hi folks,


We have some things to announce and a few things to clear up.


As folks know, since we opened the cafe in Val-David just 2 months ago we have dealt with being broken into and robbed, vandalized almost weekly, dead birds left at our door several times, and all culminating in a barrage of hate-fuelled fake reviews and transphobic messages because the chef and one of the owners tweeted on her personal account that she was against Bill 21 in Quebec. It stated that Bill 21 was racist and that she was troubled to live in a province that would support and pass a law saying women who wear a hijab or turban can not teach children. This was picked up on by the alt-right and hate groups in Quebec, who then proceeded to target Sophia, the chef, and owner. These actions against her created a situation where we no longer felt safe with the cafe open, and with so many angry bigots knowing exactly where and when Sophia would be.


With that said we decided to close the cafe immediately. Safety is more important than a vegan cafe. Unfortunately, this decision does, however, put us out well over ten thousand dollars in debt, with staff that we need to compensate for the immediate loss of employment and relocation costs.


We have received a lot of support, thank you for the kind comments. Unfortunately, countering the kindness, we have also had comments of victim-blaming, people telling us we should toughen up, folks who naively think the police will ride in and make all this better. Nothing in our experience leads us to feel safe around the police or that they will protect us. If anything, this has been triggering and without getting into detail, some of us have experienced the reality of police violence and brutality and live with the trauma daily. We also feel this tremendous pressure to say Val-David is a great town, maybe it is. But the reality is that places like this elected a xenophobic government that empowers bigots and people filled with hate. This is why we are leaving -- we do not feel safe.


Now we are asking for help from our community. We have a fundraiser coming up in Montreal at Sala Rosa, on Sunday, Sept 22nd. We are also launching a crowd-funder to help us pay staff and recover some of the enormous amounts of money we have lost in all this. We are asking for help to move out of Quebec and resettle the business in Nova Scotia. We are asking for help for our small queer and trans run and owned business that we have sunk every penny we had into.


This is as personal as we feel comfortable addressing these matters as a business.



On a lighter note,

We are moving to Nova Scotia and will be relocating the business there. We will be focusing on our vegan cheese, doing farmers' markets, and a monthly vegan cheese box. Any help with getting us back on our feet and putting this mess behind us is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Sophia
The Vegan Canteen Team

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Organizer 

Sophia Banks 
Organizer
Montréal, QC
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