A mob of Saint-Henri vandals hit habitual targets like Campanelli and Notorious Barbershop over the weekend in an apparent display of anti-gentrification rage. One news outlet described it as a violent destructive rampage; borough councillor Craig Sauvé speculated that the attacks were political. Among the victims was Juicyyy Lab. The new juice bar's splashy launch party was marred by smoke bombs and pepper spray at approximately 9 p.m. on Friday. Owner Corey Shapiro, also a principal in Vintage Frames and Notorious, spoke to reporters. "I ran outside to see what the story was and I got pepper sprayed by people dressed all in black with masks, who had made a strategic attack on a crowd of a couple of hundred people. This was an attack potentially endangering people’s lives." Police have been careful not to link the vandalism spree to Juicyyy's party crashers just yet. A spokesperson described the former as co-ordinated—windows were broken with crowbars and billiard balls just after 12 a.m. by a group of hooded, masked individuals. Investigators will now pore over surveillance video to help identify the perpetrators.
Incidents of vandalism are hardly new to the area. Café and apparel shop owner Tony Campanelli, whose new pizzeria, Adamo, is weeks away, told Eater last November that he sets aside $3,000 to repair damages every year. "They want to blame me for the gentrification of the neighbourhood. It's not my fault if condos are popping up everwhere and rents increase." Shapiro's take was similar. "If you sell anything other than 25-cent hot dogs in Saint-Henri, you're not always welcome."
The havoc over the weekend coincides with the bar and concert venue refurbishment of a Saint-Henri landmark, the Molson family bank, a little further west on Notre-Dame; yet another conspicuous sign of a neighbourhood in rapid transition.
Update: Campanelli indicated to Eater today that newer businesses on Notre-Dame Ouest were not the sole victims. Established places—a tailor, music school, and laundromat—were targeted as well.
juicyyy smoke bombs pic.twitter.com/LtmK4F5GxJ
— pete williams (@petebeast) May 23, 2015