Community rallies to support Toronto bar owner after break-in

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A Toronto bar owner already struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic had her business broken into this week, but Caitlin Burrell says the local community has rallied behind her, offering support and financial assistance.

Burrell said she received a call from police Tuesday morning advising that there had been a break-in at her business, the Bluebird Bar, located on Dundas Street just east of Roncesvalles Avenue.

“The front door was smashed in and cash was stolen from the premises,” Burrell told Global News.

“I think just with this pandemic … I was laughing with other bar owners, it’s like you’re working so hard to lose so much. Like you just feel like you’re constantly working to get nowhere…

“And when I heard [about the break-in], I was like, ‘I can’t do this. I’m done.'”

But Burrell said after she got to the business, she posted a photo of the smashed door online and not long after, the community began offering support.

“I had customers within 15 minutes stopping by offering to help clean up, offering words of support and encouragement,” she said.

Burrell said her parents came and helped her clean up the mess left behind, and without her knowledge, the owner of another bar across the street started a GoFundMe page to help pay for the damages and losses.

Dawn-Marie Rawding, the owner of The Commoner Roncy, said after she saw what happened, she felt she had to help.