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Anti-gay slurs push restaurateurs from Manitoba town

The openly gay owners of a restaurant in Morris, Man., are closing up and leaving, saying they are tired of homophobic remarks.

"We are hurt and upset by it. We had thought that life in Morris would be good," said Dave Claringbould, a chef and one of the owners of Pots N Hands.

He and his partner opened the restaurant just four months ago in the town, south of Winnipeg.

"We left the city for a quieter life, which is why we bought a property out here," Claringbould said.

Morris Mayor Gavin van der Linde says most people in town support the couple, but a handful who couldn't keep their opinions to themselves are making things difficult.

Since the decision to close up has gone public, the restaurant has had many townspeople stopping in to make it clear the majority of residents do not share the anti-gay sentiment.

However, Van der Linde doesn't believe the homophobic remarks are only to blame for the restaurant closing. If the business had been more financially successful, he believes the couple would have persevered.

"I think like any other restaurant it takes a long time to get going. I think if they were a little patient I think they'd find a lot more support," he said.

"It would be great if they'd reconsider. I think they have a future in Morris."

Claringbould insists the primary reason for closing is the homophobic comments.

“The issue has been comments made to my partner and I. We’ve lost a lot of business with people coming into the restaurant,” he said.

“One such comment was for instance, we were asked if someone was going to catch something off the plate they were served.”

Jeremy Wiebe and his mother visit the restaurant often. He said he grew up in a small town and is familiar with the types of comments the couple received.

“I was working at a restaurant as well, and I know I had served someone, and they made a big thing about it,” said Wiebe.

“I could tell they weren’t happy I had served them their food.”

Other residents in the town wish the restaurant would stay open.

“I think it’s sad. I wish they’d stay,” said Morris resident Curtis Lee.

Van der Linde said the community has offered resources to the business to help improve their sales and try to keep them open.

“We have some really great business supports. The president of our chamber of commerce has been to speak to them. The economic development officer has been to them,” said Van der Linde.

Claringbould said it’s not enough for him and his partner to stay, but he doesn’t harbour any hard feelings toward the town.

“There’s many great people here. We’ve been supported by a lot of local people and local businesses that don’t deserve any negative impact from this,” he said.

The restaurant is slated to close on April 13.

by Anonymousreply 1504/06/2013

I think the business was probably struggling, as new restaurants usually do. But the bullying from the townsfolk probably was the final straw. I don't blame them for shutting down and moving away. I wouldn't want to put up with that shit either.

by Anonymousreply 204/03/2013

I think the mayor was callous.

by Anonymousreply 304/03/2013

[quote]They should open a construction firm.

Or a microbrowery or a brub.

by Anonymousreply 504/03/2013

The mayor is an asshole, r1. He's just trying to save face because it went public.

There was an underground boycott going on, and who would want to stick it out there?

I'm a small-town Canadian, and I've heard this so many times in my life. Not just with LGBTs, in fairness. Anyone not white, Christian and straight is subjected to this behaviour.

There is community pressure not to support "them" because, you know, it's OK now, it's just two of them, but you accept this, next thing they'll all be down here, around your children...[said in a tone people usually use discussing bedbugs and roaches].

In rural communities that are close out of necessity, the pressure to conform over anything is greater than other places, let alone out West. It's the Canadian equivalent of the American heartland.

by Anonymousreply 604/03/2013

Are womyn allowed to live in Manitoba?

by Anonymousreply 704/03/2013

How do people even know the owners are gay?

Can their flames be seen from space?

by Anonymousreply 804/03/2013

R4, if you had only taken a break from eating massive turds and supported their restaurant they might still be open.

by Anonymousreply 904/03/2013

Shame considering the CBC was just about to commission "Little Gay Restaurant on the Prairie".

by Anonymousreply 1004/03/2013

Oh, Canada. That progressive, open-minded utopia.

BULLSHIT!

It's become a right-wing freeper paradise.

by Anonymousreply 1104/03/2013

Oh come on, R11. Small towns are the same the world over. There's a handful of backwards village idiots in every one, no matter how progressive the country and its big cities.

by Anonymousreply 1204/03/2013

Welcome to Stephen Harpers Canada!

Expect more.....

by Anonymousreply 1304/05/2013

Western Canada is not open minded, even in the larger cities (See Surrey, BC for proof).

Take Quebec out of Canada, and Canada is more right wing that most US states.

by Anonymousreply 1404/06/2013

R14, Ontario currently has a lesbian premier and Ontario was the first province to allow gay marriage back in 2003.

Yes, the Quebecois are very progressive, but don't give them all the credit.

by Anonymousreply 1504/06/2013
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