Why These Ottawa Businesses Are Closing (Or Donating Revenue) On Canada Day

« July 1st is not a day of celebration, but a day to recognize the ongoing colonization and oppression of Indigenous peoples »

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Some Ottawa businesses are taking advantage of this year’s Canada Day to show their support for Indigenous communities by closing their doors in an act of solidarity or using holiday proceeds to support non-profit Indigenous groups.

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The Artery Community Roasters, an Ottawa-based small business and social enterprise, is one of many businesses pledging to donate 100% of their sales on July 1 to nonprofit Assembly of Seven Generations Indigenous-owned, youth-led and social enterprise. The organization strives to empower and support Indigenous youth in Ottawa. Will Wells, owner of The Artery, said that as a social enterprise he sees the intersectionality between the rights of people with disabilities and the rights of indigenous peoples.

« There’s a lot of overlap because Indigenous people are 30-35% more likely to be disabled due to the historical and ongoing lack of adequate health care and infrastructure, » he said.

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The Artery roasts small quantities of ethically sourced direct trade specialty coffee and employs people with disabilities paying them living wages.

A number of Ottawa businesses have closed or donated all profits they made last Canada Day as a show of support for Indigenous communities following the discovery of burial sites anonymous in boarding schools across the country.

The discovery of the sites has prompted activists to use Canada Day as an opportunity to focus on what many call the Canadian government’s racist and discriminatory treatment of Indigenous peoples.

Little Jo Berry’s, a vegan, gay-owned bakery and cafe, is also donating all sales of its baked goods and cafe on July 1 to the Seven Generation Assembly.

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« It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day as a business owner and we often forget about our own footprint and the space we occupy, » said Jo Masterson, owner of Little Jo Berry’s. “Understand that July 1st is not a day of celebration, but a day to acknowledge the ongoing colonization and oppression of Indigenous peoples.”

This is the second year in a row that Little Jo Berry’s has donated its Canada Day revenue. His move has garnered positive feedback from customers, according to Masterson.

« Our customers love it. It’s a great reminder for people to learn more about local Indigenous businesses and initiatives and it creates a convenient way to encourage people to donate if that’s something they’re looking for. » they’ve never done it before or don’t know where to start.

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Meanwhile, Moo Shu Ice Cream and Kitchen on Bank Street is closing on Canada Day for the second year in a row. Instead, staff will spend the day with Anna Cote, Mike Diabo and other Indigenous Knowledge Keepers at Minobideg Learning, Moo Shu said in an Instagram post.

Moo Shu also said it would remain closed on July 2 as a safety measure for its staff members due to continued threats that the « Freedom Convoy » would return to downtown.

Wells acknowledged that his own privilege is what has allowed his small business to thrive and that in these times it is difficult for every business to commit to donating an entire day’s worth of sales. However, he encourages businesses and individuals to find a way to take action, whether monetary or educational, despite possible scrutiny.

« It’s not about being unpatriotic or judging people who want to celebrate July 1, » Wells said. “Rather, it is a day to find an opportunity for collective good that also contributes to nation-to-nation building and true reconciliation – towards which we still have a lot of work to do. . »

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