Toronto — A family is trying to reopen an old rustic bistro in downtown Toronto as part of a public-private partnership that is meant to encourage community cohesion and support for LGBTI people.
The family of three, including the owners of the Rustic Bakery and Art Bakery, announced the end of the partnership in August after a lengthy and divisive debate.
The community has been supportive, said Laura Gagliano, the mother of the owners.
She and her husband, Jason, have been partners for more than 15 years.
Gagliani says that while the community has rallied behind the Rustics, the family has felt it was not enough.
“We were a little frustrated.
We wanted to open up a shop that people could come to, a place that we could all hang out,” Gagbiano said.”
But what’s really frustrating is that the community was not accepting of that.
They don’t understand the impact on people.”
Gagbiani and her partners are hoping that a new partnership with a local non-profit can bring a sense of community to a business that is still in its infancy.
The Rustic Bistro opened in May 2016, and since then, it has hosted events for LGBTQ community groups, artists and the disabled.
Gags and Jason Gaglico are the founders of the local non (non-profit) community.
They are the sole owners of Rustic, and they are not interested in a partnership with anyone other than the Rustiques.
“They’re a wonderful family and we want to be able to be a family again, but the business is going to be our home for the foreseeable future,” Jason Gagniano said in an interview with CBC News.
The partnership with the Canadian Association of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders is meant as a way to provide some stability and stability to the business.
“There are so many challenges and there are so few opportunities to have these kinds of partnerships,” Jason said.
Gagniano and Jason were married in May, and their partnership began with the Rustica family.
Gagliiani, Jason and their two sons have been active in the community for a long time.
They opened Rustic in 2016 and have held weekly dinners since.
“It’s always been about supporting other families, and supporting other people in need,” Jason told CBC News, adding that the family is doing this through donations.
Galgiano says the Rusticans have a good relationship with the community and they have been a huge help with fundraising and community support.
“Every single person that has come to Rustic and we’ve talked to, we’ve been there for the family,” Gagniani said.
“There’s no one person who has been a bigger supporter of Rustica than the family.
It’s a family, and I can’t say enough about them.”
Rustic was the first place in the city to allow same-sex couples to use the same bathrooms, and a community meeting was held in the spring to address the issue.GAGLIANO said she and her family were very grateful for the support, but that the Rusticas family would not be changing their policy.
“As soon as we had that conversation with the family, they felt that they had to change it,” Gags said.
The decision to close Rustic came down to two reasons.
The owners were uncomfortable with the idea of the community supporting them and their family in their decision to shutter their business, and the Rustices had to close the Rustican Bakery because it would not support the community.
“The Rustics were a family who loved Rustica, and there’s just no way for us to support our community and support the family in any way that would not contribute to the Rustique’s well-being,” Jason explained.
The owners say they were able to come to a new understanding with the local community after they started a conversation.
“When you hear the news, you just feel like this is the only way you can support people,” Jason stated.
Gagos said that he has no regrets and believes the Rusticates are doing what they have always done: support the LGBTQ community.
“It’s been really important to us to have a place where our families can hang out, that’s just what we do, that we love and we do our best to support each other,” Jason added.
The group will hold its next gathering on Sunday, August 11.
For more information, visit www.rusticbakery.ca.