Gentrification alert: iconic vegetarian café and salle de spectacles Le Cagibi is vacating its location on the corner of St-Laurent and St-Viateur, citing a substantial rent increase from its building’s new owner.
In a statement online, it was noted that it wasn’t viable for Le Cagibi to maintain its current space:
“We’ve reflected at length on this increase to our rental costs and concluded it is simply no longer financially possible for the business to stay at our much-loved location on St. Viateur at St. Laurent.”
The coffee shop has been a Mile End neighbourhood staple for over a decade, serving coffee, sandwiches, tacos, and baked goods in a two-room woody space full of mismatched chairs and tables, replete with decorative knick-knacks.
Yet it’s not necessarily the end for the institution — a replacement location several blocks north in Little Italy has been locked down for the spring. However, it’s not guaranteed — the café is hoping to crowdsource about 40 percent of the costs for re-establishing itself further north (with the remaining funds coming through an assortment of other avenues).
The café is seeking some $35,000 in donations via crowdsourcing website GoFundMe, and has a breakdown of how that money will be spent — much of it is for renovations, but also for accessible bathrooms, kitchen equipment, and permit costs, since the city does not allow businesses to simply take existing permits with them if they move. The café also has a positively adorable sign to campaign for those donations.
It’s not clear exactly where the new location will be — a video online suggests only that it will be across from Little Italy Park at St-Zotique and St-Laurent. The GoFundMe page also notes that the new location will “move away from” live music due to space issues, but will continue hosting community events and other artistic happenings.
There’s one other piece of news about the café — it’s also transforming into a co-op, which will be run by the current workers, governed by a five person board”, as part of the staff’s “commitment to ethical alternative business practices”. Membership fees for that co-op will also help Le Cagibi cover its move north.
- Sauvez/Save Coop Le Cagibi [GoFundMe]