Café's Ceiling Collapses During Rainstorm
Last night's rainstorm here in Toronto has caused a ceiling collapse at hipster knitting café In The Loop.
St Clair West is home to a developing neighborhood, where junk shops and abandoned storefronts stand shoulder-to-shoulder with boutiques, new bars, and the occasional café. In The Loop is one such venue, where DIYers young and old congregate for some clackity-clack and some yakkity-yak, presided over by owners and operators Terry, Christina and Elaine. My girlfriend goes for the yarn and lattés. Her kids dig the hot chocolate. I occasionaly join them for the wi-fi (I'm also part of the café's unofficial tech support).
Last night I joined my girlfriend and her sons at the café before grabbing some Cambodean takeaway. No sooner had I made it to the door of the café than the heavens opened, and another of Ontario's summer deluges dumped the rain... the five of us still left in the café watched as the rain continued, waiting out the storm. Usually these things are over in around ten minutes. This one, though, had some staying power, lasting for over half an hour before we noticed a trickling noise...
A stream of water was making its way down one of the lamps over the bar, pooling in the glass globe. A second tributary burst through the paint on the ceiling, and we scrambled to save the computer and router from a watery demise. I shut off the circuit breaker for the bar and began removing the globes from the hanging lamps, so that the globes wouldn't crash down.
The flooding was just getting started, though. Within minutes, gouts of water were pouring into the cafe, soaking walls, floors, and appliances. Christina, my girlfriend and I sprung into action, aded by my girlfriend's 8-year-old and 4-year-old. We had to salvage the yarn! That stuff is expensive, and the flooding could potentially cause hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of damage. We scooped up skein after skein into any dry container we could find, shuttling them toward the front of the café, which was still dry. Meanwhile, the landlord wasn't answering his phone, and Terry was just showing up with her two kids.
We managed to get hold of the fire department, though ING was useless in terms of providing anything other than answering-machine messages. Meanwhile, the pattern of water damage, which by this point had collapsed the ceiling, was becoming clear: the fault lay at the balcony for the apartment above the shop, which the landlord had failed to repair after the previous flood.
There's some back-story here: In The Loop was once called Alterknit, the first such café on St. Clair West. However, things went pear-shaped and the place closed down, emerging phoenix-like as In The Loop. Meanwhile, though, the landlord wanted them out so he could re-let the space at a higher price, but Terry refused to give up her lease, keen as she was on reopening, and she was still the legal renter of the space. Intending to force them out, he dragged his feet on some pretty important repairs. Just check out the photos and video to see what I mean.
The four children proved invaluable in sorting through the dry, damp, and sopping wet balls of yarn, and the owners and their friends and neighbors worked until late at night on drying out the space and salvaging the books, yarn and fabric, fuelled by cupcakes from the neighbors and the Cambodean takeaway. Big thanks especially to the nice folks who run the pet store next door, not only for helping but for keeping some of the kids entertained with those cute kittens. We bagged the dry yarn, and my girlfriend volunteered to nurse the damp-yet-salvageable yarn back to health at our place, which now smells like a big wet sweater.
Meanwhile, In The Loop will be closed for a week or two... if you want to find out when they'll re-open, check out their site, which just got updated this morning. Lots of locals are hoping that the reopening will be sooner rather than later, since all those beanies, scarves, and sweaters won't just make themselves.... and they make a mean iced mocha for those of us who can't stitch.