Fenelon Falls shows support for LGBTQ+ community after hate crime incident

By Sylvia Keesmaat

Oscar, Charlotte, Zoe and Levon Ceci show their support to staff at Grr8 Finds Market. Photo: Sylvia Keesmaat.

A large group of people congregated outside Grr8 Finds Market in Fenelon on Wednesday to show support following homophobic harassment that targeted the owner and an employee the previous day.

Originally a few friends had intended to show solidarity by being present at the store to provide support at closing time.

By the time they arrived, however, word had spread and by 4 pm approximately 70 people had gathered.

The staff members of the Grr8 Finds Market in downtown Fenelon Falls were victimized yesterday in what the investigating OPP officer initially described as “a hate crime.”

The business, which has operated in Fenelon for more than a decade, takes great pride in the fact its staff are “loud and proud queers.”

Until this incident the men and women that worked at Grr8 had only experienced love and support from the people of Kawartha Lakes.

That ended yesterday morning when a man entered the store “and tried to tell an entirely queer staff that they were sick and disgusting,” according to the store’s Facebook post.

That same individual also yelled “faggot” and “sin” at the top of his lungs at the assembled employees.

With the photos taken by Grr8 employees the police have been able to identify the four men who are members of the same extended family from the Coboconk area.

In the gathering of solidarity today, children, parents, allies, and members of the LGBTQ+ community chatted with one another while waving flags at honking motorists, all hoping to send the message that Fenelon Falls is a community that does not tolerate homophobia.

In light of the harassment, many community members had indicated to the employees at Grr8 finds that if similar events occur again, to call and a crowd would come in solidarity.

Today’s action went a step further, proactively providing support for those targeted in the community.

–with files from Kirk Winter.

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