Crews & Tangos is raising funds to survive the pandemic

The Church Street drag bar's owner has turned to GoFundMe to pay rent, staff and hydro

Popular Church Street drag bar Crews & Tangos has turned to GoFundMe to survive the pandemic.

Owner Michael Ramawad posted a call for help on the crowdfunding website on November 27. As of November 30, the club had raised $17,500 of its $25,000 goal.

“We have felt the heavy pressures of 2020 and it has taken its toll on everyone,” reads a statement, which explains the funds raised will be used “to help pay residual rent, hydro, staff and other bills.

“We whole-heartedly want to continue to be a pillar and an establishment of acceptance of love within our community in the heart of Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Gay Village.”

Many donors posted comments on the GoFundMe page, describing Crews & Tangos as a safe space for LGBTQ2+ that needs to be protected.

During the pandemic, the city’s queer community has lost other nightlife venues that would host regularly host LGBTQ events, like Club 120, ROUND Venue and The Beaver.

The community, including Canada’s Drag Race winner Priyanka, had been rallying around Crews & Tangos even before COVID-19 took hold.

In early March, more than 30,000 people signed a petition to prevent Graywood Developments from turning the property into a condo. The developer ultimately planned to build a mixed-used facility that incorporates the heritage building housing Crews & Tangos.

The business also made headlines a couple months ago when it temporarily closed after a drag performer and patron tested positive for COVID-19.

Toronto and Peel Region are in the midst of a 28-day lockdown that has forced restaurants and bars to close indoor and outdoor dining.

“We ask for your support in any way you can,” Ramawad writes on GoFundMe, “either through donations, word of mouth, or just voicing your support for all of us.”


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