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Bomb threat costs CANFAR $100,000

Art school student forces charity cancellation

A bomb scare that forced the closure of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and much of Bloor St has cost the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) an estimated $100,000.

CANFAR was holding its annual Bloor St Entertains fundraiser on Nov 28, which it hoped would raise $500,000. At the event, donors pay $600 to eat dinner prepared by Toronto’s top chefs at various venues. The event was to conclude with a gala party at the ROM which would have included a silent auction.

The dinners went ahead but the ROM gala was cancelled. Elissa Beckett, CANFAR’s executive director, says the loss of the silent auction and ticket sales for the gala cost the charity about $100,000.

“The event itself is CANFAR’s single biggest fundraiser,” she says. “It raises about one-third of our revenue for the year.”

Beckett says the organization will try to salvage the lost revenue, beginning with an online auction on Dec 5 starting at 2pm at Canfar.ca.

The event was cancelled when what looked like a pipe bomb was discovered in the ROM. The device turned out not to be an explosive. A student at the Ontario College of Art and Design turned himself in to police Nov 29, claiming the fake bomb was an art project. In an interview with the Toronto Star the student claimed not to have been aware of the fundraiser.

Thorarinn Ingi Jonsson, 25, faces nuisance and mischief charges.