Favourite local place that no longer exists

Photo by Daniel Crump

1. Forth Café and Bar
2. Cousins Deli & Lounge
3. Misericordia emergency room

Parting is such sweet sorrow, especially when coffee and spirits are involved. For the second year in a row, Forth Café and Bar has been voted the community’s favourite now-defunct establishment.

A former fixture of the bustling Exchange District, Forth was but another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on small businesses.

“We closed like every other restaurant and café, because of COVID,” former staffer Pamela Kirkpatrick says.

Kirkpatrick was a fixture at Forth during its entire tenure, working as the chef during its opening in January of 2017 before later moving into a managerial role until its closure in March 2020.

Predominantly, she mourns the establishment as a hub of community congregation.

“Because of the vast space, like the entire building itself was always active and being used,” Kirkpatrick says.

“It felt like a real hub of a central place. We were open from 7 in the morning and closed at 10 every day of the week, something we wanted to do in order to set that precedent of, ‘yes, we’re always open.’”

Kirkpatrick notes the community feeling extended to customers as well as employees, with nearly 200 staff working at some point over the course of Forth’s run.

“We ended up pulling in so many creative people that didn’t necessarily need to have a full-time permanent job.”

Whether the niche filled by Forth can be replaced is yet to be seen, as Kirkpatrick laments the hole left in its absence.

“You could come by yourself and have a cup of coffee or do your work by yourself, but the odds are, you’re going to run into somebody there and that you’ll connect with somebody there. Since the pandemic, I don’t feel like there’s many places that have fulfilled that.”

Published in Volume 77, Number 12 of The Uniter (December 1, 2022)

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