In a post to their Facebook page, the Sault Blues Society advised the public that they are cancelling their participation and support for the Wednesday Night Blues series at The Canuck, previously known as The Canadian located on Pim Street. The Society went on to state the the reason for their decision was due to health and safety concerns for both musicians and patrons.
“Unfortunately, the Sault Blues Society will no longer be booking or promoting Wednesday Night Blues at the Canuck. The Canuck and all the currently booked acts have been informed about the Society removing its support. The Sault Blues Society regrets having to cancel the Societies participation in any of the upcoming booked Wednesday night shows as the health and safety of the musicians and our blues music lovers is always most important to us. We will update you with any new developments as they emerge and we can again share our love of the Blues in a safe manner, hopefully soon. – Sincerely, The Sault Blues Society Executive”
Numerous posts have surfaced on social media by patrons who have recently visited the establishment stating that they had witnessed a blatant disregard for public health and safety by management, staff and other patrons.
In a public post on Facebook from September 30, 2021, Michael Young wrote about his experience while attempting to enjoy an evening out in support of some musician friends who were booked to play at the establishment.
“Last night, for the first time since last fall, we went out to see some live music in an indoor space. When we arrived, we were bewildered to discover that the large parking lot was completely full. We assumed that the band would be playing in the downstairs room, which is where live music events have usually taken place in the past. As we walked to the side-door entrance, however, we were struck by a couple of things. First, we walked past at least three vehicles with anti-vaccine messages plastered all over them. There was also a large banner hanging from the railing outside the entrance. It read “Join the Fight!”. And the room itself? Well, it was also full – wall to wall people, all unmasked – listening to a speaker blathering about personal freedom and government oppression and tyranny and blah blah blah. This was, unmistakably, a large meeting of anti-vaccine acolytes. I don’t know the capacity of that room, but it appeared to me that were at least a couple of hundred people crammed in there, probably more. Clearly, every single current COVID-19 restriction was being ignored, not only by the people in attendance, but by the management and staff of the venue. It was so crowded that, even in normal times, I would have wondered if the gathering was in compliance with basic fire-code regulations.”
In a second post from yesterday, October 5, Michael again witnessed the parking lot at The Canuck near capacity during what appeared to be another large gathering where people could be seen coming and going from within the establishment’s lower floor entrance unmasked.
“Last night we happened to be driving by the Canuck, and we noticed that the parking lot was, once again, almost full. We pulled in to have a look. The “Join the Fight” banner was again hanging on the railing outside the entrance to the Canuck’s downstairs room, and a lot of people, all unmasked, were moving in and out of the room, and milling about near the entrance.”
SaultOnline/ONNtv reached out to both the Algoma Public Health and Sault Police Service for comment after learning several reports had been filed regarding these large gatherings. Although we have yet to receive a response from Algoma Public Health, Lincoln Loutit from the Sault Police Services did reach back out to us with the following statement:
“Enforcement in this regard is an Algoma Public Health and/or the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario responsibility. Officers will attend businesses, as per pre-COVID conditions. If someone is asked to leave an establishment and they refuse/cause a disturbance, officers then can remove them under the Trespass to Property Act.”
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has confirmed that it has received a complaint regarding the establishment and is working with local officials and police to gather more information.