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Fat Phill evicted from Marlee Avenue

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Retro dinosaur toys for the children
Retro dinosaur toys for the children
Termination of Lease notice from Revin Bailiffs
Termination of Lease notice from Revin Bailiffs
Fat Phill evicted from Marlee Avenue

On Sunday, I just got back to Toronto after a week away.  While driving in, me and Megan were talking about how the Toronto we knew and grew up with is being systematically destroyed by the forces of big capital, primarily in the form of condo developers at the moment.  When we got back to our home area, we decided to get some burgers at Fat Phill’s on Marlee.  When we pulled in to the parking lot, we were very surprised that Phill’s was closed, as he is usually open on Sunday.  I saw a paper notice on the door and decided to get out and read it, hoping that it was only a temporary closure of some kind.  The sign was from a bailiff the landlord had hired and basically said that his lease was terminated and that the locks had been changed.  

It angered us so much that Phill had been evicted like this right after we were talking about the state of the city and how everything good about it is being destroyed.  Even Esther was upset.  We had taken her there quite a lot over the last year and she enjoyed playing with the little dinosaurs he kept in the window, which are still there inside the restaurant.  Phill had always made his restaurant a great space for children.  He even had retro dinosaur toys for them, which are still in the window along with all the tables, chairs and equipment despite the notice telling him he had to remove everything by April 6, 2014 or be charged for storage and removal.

 He opened his first Fat Phill’s in 1985 in the plaza right next to his final location at Marlee and Romar.  It seems he had some family issues and had to close because of that last time, but was able to re-open at Marlee and Romar a few years back to the delight of many long-time area residents who really missed Fat Phill’s the last time he closed.  His original location is something I now mythologize and probably remember it as being better than it actually was.  It even had those old classic Atari arcade games.  I’m sure many people in the area my age have similar fond memories of Phill’s.  In fact, I think it is partially the nostalgia for the greatness of his past location that made his new much smaller location on Romar and Marlee so popular.  It really kind of builds on that 1980s and 90s nostalgia that people still carry with them, and I think Phill really knew that. 

In the past year, we had interesting discussions with him about Hulk Hogan’s drug-fuelled antics and assholery in Toronto and the greatness of Star Trek, and even tried out some sorbet he was thinking of introducing.  His workers were often crabby, but at least he didn’t make them do ‘customer service’.  One of them that we met last year was actually an anti-capitalist woman originally from Stratford who had worked in the arts.  He seemed sad lately when we talked with him about how kids today think dinosaurs are dragons and couldn't really talk the way he normally did.

It seems that the case of Fat Phill’s is a classic example of how capitalism can’t even maintain something that everyone wants, needs and supports with their hard-earned money and that has become something much more than just a burger place for many locals.  His literal eviction from the premises is not only an act of violence against Phill himself, but against all those who think of Marlee Avenue as more than just a strip of businesses and residences.  According to Phill’s twitter, the City of Toronto was involved in a dispute of some kind with his landlord, though he says that certain city councilors were helpful and thanks them for their help without naming them.   He plans to open again soon, though he can’t yet say when or where.  I will be calling my city councillor Josh Colle tomorrow to get more details on this seemingly complicated case.     

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miroma (Michael Romandel)
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