St. Lawrence Market pushed Jenny Huang out of her Souvenir Market stall so fast she hardly had time to unload her merchandise.
On July 31, after 18 years in her 200 square-foot store, she was booted in favour of a more woke flower shop.
Some 68 days later, there’s nothing there other than a sliding iron gate. It turns out that the landlord, the City of Toronto, could have let Huang leave with some dignity and not go further into poverty by letting her stay in operation.
Now she’s unemployed, with no income and no prospects.
“It hurts,” she admitted after being thrown aside and offered no life-line from people like Mayor John Tory or Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
City spokesperson Brad Ross said during the summer that “business decisions are sometimes made that are not going to please everyone” and while “sympathetic to Ms. Huang” there’s “an over-representation of the souvenir category,” and the city has the “right and obligation to make decisions that are best for the market.”
It’s difficult to imagine any compassionate person or institution moving in on a small business during a pandemic — especially one that tries to sell Canadian souvenirs when there are no tourists, sports, hotels, or theatre performances in town.
But they did it with haste. What the city and market did to this woman, who came to Canada from China with a dream, was nothing short of cruel.
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But what they did to the taxpayers, by having no rent revenue coming in for the third straight month, is obscene.
“The flower shop is still coming,” insisted a market employee Wednesday.
What’s the hurry?