I had no idea how important The Pantry was in the lives, hearts and stomachs of local residents until the time came for me to sign off on closing the tearoom, which opened in the Glebe Community Centre in 1975. The lease was running out in 2014, and the space was coveted for community and City programming.
But not so fast! Patrons by the hundreds wrote, called me and notified the media to advocate for one last extension to the lease. That would mean delaying other users' plans, tackling the tricky issue of mandatory provincial taxes, and finding solutions to several other obstacles.
All the players came to the table, with the GCA and some prominent community organizers convinced that where there's a will, there's a way. And there was a way to keep the doors open, but only until June 30 of this year. Carolyn Best, David Pritchard and staff got to continue doing what they love for a while longer, patrons got to celebrate The Pantry's 40th anniversary with founder Ilse Kyssa, and I saw how loyal this community is to its institutions.