Mile End Ensemble mobilized for a glorious event in support of S.W. Welch
Mile End Ensemble hosted a “Read-In” on Saturday to show support for S.W. Welch, a long established bookstore on St-Viateur in Montreal. The event was a response to the store’s landlord Dan Lavy asking, “Does anyone buy books today anyways?” Shiller-Lavy realtors own many buildings in the neighbourhood along with the one that has housed S.W. Welch since 2007 (225 St-Viateur), when the store relocated from St-Laurent Blvd.
The answer to Lavy’s question was a resounding “yes.” St-Viateur was flooded with new and old fans coming out to support S.W. Welch on Saturday afternoon. The line was nearly three blocks long and with the store’s capacity of eight people at a time, some stood in line for hours to support the store.
“I didn’t really expect it,” said store owner Stephen Welch. “I knew people liked my store, but it’s been really overwhelming. It’s been fantastic, really fantastic.”
The group Mile End Ensemble invited supporters to bring books to read while waiting in line. Volunteers managed the line and spoke to supporters about gentrification. They also handed out buttons and bookmarks and asked supporters to fill out a survey to gain feedback on how they could further support the Mile End community. The SPVM even blocked off traffic in the area to open up the street for pedestrians.
“We’re here as concerned citizens. With what’s been going on specifically in the Mile End and all over Montreal, we’re worried that this neighbourhood is becoming too corporate and too expensive for people to live in and stay in. We are worried about the business and all the tenants who are at risk of being evicted. We’re here to show support for S.W. Welch but we’re also here to talk about what’s going on,” said Mile End Ensemble member Ashley Opheim.