Georgestown Café & Bookshelf Taking Steps Toward Reality

Lauren Power reports on Stephanie Stoker's progress in opening a neighbour cafe and bookshelf in Georgestown

Georgestown! It’s great if you’re in the mood for a chocolate croissant or karaoke. Not so great if you want to grab lunch, a cup of coffee, or generally find a place to sit down somewhere that’s not Georgestown Pub.

Stephanie Stoker is hoping to change that with the Georgestown Café and Bookshelf.

“The idea of the Georgestown cafe and bookshelf is to have a neighbourhood cafe that offers locally sourced (as possible) healthy lunches, soups and breads from scratch, coffees, etc. within a walkable distance from the home,”says Stoker.

“We have B&B’s, hotels, a bakery, pub, three schools, a park … but we lack a space to bring the kids, yourself, or a friend to sit and relax in.”

The goal is to create a genuine neighbourhood hub — something that encourages neighbourhood interaction and active transportation, instead of upping commuter traffic and strain on available parking.

“There will also be some stocked bookshelves for patrons to give and take from, a free library of sorts, as we don’t have one downtown anymore.”

After talking with neighbours, meeting with the neighbourhood association, compiling letters of support, the café leaped its first big hurdle in early August with a public hearing in early July. The concept was unanimously approved by city council, with nods to the draft of the new municipal plan, which calls for similar developments in community space and walkability.

Stokes will still need to get possession of the building, do some renovations, and get licensed, and is presently hoping for a fall opening. As of yesterday’s Facebook update though, we know that “an appeal was filed that the city erred in its decision to approve our non-conforming use of 73 Hayward Avenue. We are again in a waiting pattern.”

September 10 is the appeal date.

“We feel it is really important to take the opportunity to get possession of this building and utilize it for something that the community as a whole can benefit from,”says Stoker. “We have over 450 likes on our Facebook page -for a cafe that only exists in our dreams so far, that is pretty good!”

To learn more, visit the Café’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Georgestown-Cafe-and-Bookshelf.

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