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‘Pride Miracle’: Queer bookshop co-owner says community support will help business avoid eviction | CBC News



Toronto’s oldest queer bookshop was on the brink of closing its doors last month after facing eviction but it is now back on its feet after an outpouring of community support — and just in time for Pride Month.

On Monday, Glad Day Bookshop, located in the heart of Toronto’s Gay Village, launched an online fundraiser to appeal to the community to save its business. The store said it needed $100,000 to avoid eviction in July.

Just a few days later, the business was able to collect more than $112,000 after community members rallied together to support the long-running shop.

Michael Erickson, co-owner of Glad Day Bookshop, said it feels like a “Pride miracle. 

“The fact that 2,000 people supported us within three [to] four days is pretty incredible,” Erickson told CBC Toronto.

The business, which racked up years of debt, has faced financial uncertainty. With the added impact of COVID-19 pandemic, along with inflation, the shop has struggled to keep up, Erickson said.

“While things are challenging and scary, it’s also hopeful, everyone coming together at once,” Erickson said.

While the immediate crisis is averted, the business must raise a total of $300,000 to stay in its current location for the long term.

“Now we can start to have those complicated conversations about what happens next,” Erickson said.

Michael Erickson, co-owner of Glad Day Bookshop, said the bookshop was able to raise over $112,000 in less than a week to save the business from eviction. But he says the shop is continuing to raise funds to reach its goal of $300,000. (Ivan Arsovski/CBC)

Toronto resident Daniel Fusca said the bookshop is a really important community space that needs to be protected.

“There’s a lot of activism that happens here, nightlife, it’s a gathering place, a place to get books about queer people and queer history,” Fusca said.

“It’s a space where we can come together as a community and activate.”

Natasha McGregor, visiting Toronto from New Brunswick, said the space is key to maintaining the 2SLGBTQ+ safe spaces and keeping the movement’s history alive.

“Having access to [the bookshop] only solidifies the queer movement … and if you don’t maintain the history, you lose the purpose of it,” McGregor said.

The space, which opened up nearly 55 years ago, is the oldest queer bookstore in the world, according to its website.

Councillor pushes for creation of community land trust

Coun. Chris Moise, who represents Toronto Centre, says he is looking into the possibility of creating a community land trust for the village, which would be similar to the The Kensington Market Community Land Trust. That land trust was established to prevent tenants from being pushed out of their homes and to maintain the vibrancy of the mixed-use neighbourhood.

“That would give a non-profit community corporation the power or money to acquire buildings in the area,” Moise said.

“Glad Day is a good example in that if the land and the properties [are] owned by the community, then we can’t be kicked out of it.”

Moise added that he hopes the shop’s story will help “spur the action” into forming a land trust for the community.

In the meantime, the business is continuing to raise funds as it prepares for Pride month events and celebrations.

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