News
2 min

Bank St closure / Hate speech threat / Stereo fire ruled arson

Bank St business closes
Maison Baguettes, a once-profitable bakery situated on the same block of Bank St as The Buzz and After Stonewall, has just closed.

Marc Theriault, the 43-year-old owner, says that the closure is the result of a number of factors. The first big hit came with the re-routing of traffic after Somerset House collapsed, then the Bank St construction began, followed by a lengthy bus strike. It wasn’t feasible, he says, to continue working 14-hour days with only one other employee — only to lose money.

“It’s frustrating because you work so hard to build your business and then you lose it because of this. I know they had to do it, but they could have minimized the impact,” said Theriault in the Ottawa Citizen on Sep 3. “A couple of months could have made the difference for me.”

Theriault’s bakery is the second business to close during this phase of the Bank St construction project. Don Alfonso restaurant, a long-time favourite of Centretown residents, closed in July.

–Capital Xtra staff

Hate speech law on shaky ground
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has made a surprising ruling that puts Canadian hate speech legislation on shaky ground.

The Sep 2 decision, delivered by tribunal chair Athanasios Hadjis, characterizes Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act as unconstitutional, which endangers the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s ability to pursue Canadians who transmit hate messages online.

This case began in 2003 as a complaint lodged against Marc Lemire, who is the webmaster of freedomsite.org. Richard Warman, an Ottawa lawyer and crusader against hate speech, had put forward a complaint against the site, alleging that messages posted by a number of the site’s users were discriminatory.

Lemire responded by challenging the constitutionality of Canada’s hate speech law in 2005, asserting that it is inconsistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. After four years before the tribunal, Hadjis agreed.

While the tribunal’s decision will likely be appealed and is not binding beyond Lemire’s case, opponents and proponents of the law will likely be keeping a close eye on this case in the coming months.

–Capital Xtra staff

Police rule Stereo fire as arson
Electronic music lovers of all stripes woke up to a sadly familiar tune Sep 2, as unconfirmed reports of an early morning fire at legendary afterhours club, Stereo — located in the Montreal’s Gay Village — began trickling in.

Suspicions of arson in this third blaze for Stereo’s hapless management were soon confirmed by Montreal police, who found accelerants in the debris. No one was injured in the fire.

The famed afterhours establishment last went up in flames back in July 2008 and it’s taken over a year to rebuild from the ground up. The club was set to reopen this coming Labour Day weekend with a lavish, highly anticipated five-day extravaganza featuring world-renowned DJs like Roger Sanchez, Deep Dish’s Sharam and Stereo’s sonic pioneer Angel Moraes.

“I’m utterly shocked,” says Bernard Plante, director general of the Gay Village’s Merchants Association (SDC du Village). “I know people who have expressly refused to go clubbing over the past year in the absence of Stereo. I can only imagine how immensely disappointed all of the city’s electronic aficionados, both gay and straight, are feeling right now.”

–Michael Oliver-Harding