Documenting impact of Coronavirus on small business in Toronto, Canada

During the last weeks of March, when Ontario and federal governments instituted the countrywide lockdown, I grabbed an old Leica and went around the neighborhood – talking to local shop owners, many of whom have been my friends for years, and snapping pictures.

I found it shocking how little of substance had been said, both in social media and in mass publications, about the devastating effect the shutdown had on small business in Toronto. Bars, diners, small mom-and-pop shops, one-person operations, professionals in culture & arts sectors, basically everyone participating in a gig economy – all these people had their professional lives shuttered, and by and large excluded from any assistance programs outside of $2,000/mo CERB payments (how far does this go in Toronto these days?)

I’ve been taking pictures for close to two months now; it’s been awful to hear some of the stories. And yet, in every single one of these photos, they all smile

Sandra and Carlos, Cafe con Leche
Sandra and Carlos, Cafe con Leche, Dupont St.
Empty streets, Ossington St. intersection. Late March
Empty streets during first real day of lockdown in Toronto, Ossington Ave.
Natalia, Colombian Street Food
Natalia, Colombian Street Food, Dupont St.
Perth Square park, South of Dupont St.
The day they closed parks – Perth Square, at Parkman Ave.
Remi and Dominica, socially-responsible curbside drop off
Dominica and Remi, curbside pick up, Dupont St.
Mel and Julia, Rapp Optical
Julia and Mel, Rapp Optical, College St.
Angela, Rancho Relaxo 2 Go
Angela and Victoria, Rancho Relaxo, Dupont St.
Jas, Pictus Goods
Jas, Pictus Goods, Dupont St.
Carla, Dave, baby and the crew at Mattachioni, Dupont St.
Carla, Dave, baby and the crew at Mattachioni, Dupont St.
Jim, Punit and Paul, Love Chix restaurant
Jim, Punit and Paul, Love Chix restaurant, Dupont St.
Heara and Kim, Koji Sushi
Heara and Hyungyu, Koji Sushi restaurant, Dupont St.
Melissa and Peaches, West City Dogs
Melissa and Peaches, West City Dogs, Dupont St.
Mean Bao restaurant, Dundas St. West
Disappointed patron in front of Mean Bao restaurant, Dundas St. West
Tiffany, Browbeaute
Tiffany, Browbeaute, Dupont St.
Fabio and Michael, Lucia restaurant, Dupont St.
Joe and Grace, Casa Blanca Unisex Hair Salon, Dupont St.
Peter, P. Feeney Bespoke Footwear, Dupont St.
Guy, Film Plus Photo Supply, Symington Ave.
Michael and Michael, Boo Radley’s Bar & Grill, Dupont St.
Joy, Le Dolci, Sousa Mendes St.
Robb, Jake and Kelly, Tuck Shop, Dupont St.
Adina, Adina Photo, Homewood Ave.

All photos are copyright (c) 2020 imagefoundry

High-resolution images are available free to all participants of this project. Eventually I am hoping to produce a set of prints and exhibit them… a heartfelt thank you to everyone who agreed to be a part.

For any inquiries please contact me at info@imagefoundry.ca