Toronto, Canada’s chain of vegan businesses, known as “Vegandale,” has committed to donate $100,000 over the next six years to community programs, following complaints about its efforts to rebrand the Parkdale neighborhood in which the businesses reside. Earlier this year, one downtown city block of Parkdale was incorporated as Vegandale by vegan collective The 5700 Inc.—which also operates the annual Vegandale Food Drink Festival—and has grown to include four restaurants, a brewery, and a retail store. About 250 local residents gathered this month and made a list of demands to the 5700 Inc., including that it commit to a long-term financial contribution toward improving access to affordable food in the area. “The 5700 Inc.’s businesses provide food and goods at prices that are unaffordable to many Parkdale residents, while also increasing the commercial gentrification that is pricing out more affordable, locally serving businesses and community services,” the residents stated in the document. Residents also asked The 5700 Inc. to abstain from using “moral imperative messaging,” remove “unnecessary” security guards, and increase local hiring of its staff to at least 60 percent. The 5700 Inc.’s $100,000 donation is an effort to work with the community: “We are so proud to be a part of the vibrant Parkdale neighborhood,” company owner Hellenic Vincent De Paul said, “and we consider it to be a top priority for us to begin giving back to the community that has supported us.”
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