'Jesus in the City' parade stops outside Chick-fil-A to say prayer for religious freedom
Sean Davidson, CTV News Toronto
Published Saturday, September 7, 2019 3:30PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 7, 2019 5:16PM EDT
A day after protesters crashed the grand opening of the Chick-fil-A store in Toronto, some people marching in the annual Jesus in the City parade gathered outside the shop to pray religious freedom.
The American food chain, which opened a new store at Yonge and Bloor streets, was slammed by protesters yesterday for its ties to anti-LGBTQ groups.
The CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, said he believes in the “biblical definition of a family unit” and has donated millions to charities with a history of discrimination against LGBTQ groups. The billionaire’s family also donated millions to defeat marriage equality initiatives.
Members of The 519, a city organization dedicated to advocacy for the inclusion of the LGBTQ community, joined LiberationTO outside the Chick-fil-A store to protest the store.
Protesters repeatedly shouted “shame” at customers who were lined up to purchase food from the restaurant.
In response to yesterday’s protests, Canadian evangelical Christian leader Charles McVety said the Jesus in the City parade would make a stop outside Chick-fil-A to say a prayer for their freedom and security.
Some particpants in the Jesus in the City parade stopped outside Chick-fil-A. (CTV News Toronto)
McVety said as each float passed Chick-fil-A on Yonge Street, they stopped for a moment to say a prayer.
“We are front of Chick-fil-A we are praying for freedom,” McVety told CTV News Toronto on Saturday.
“There is no reason why a business should be driven out of the city.”
“We must have equality and we must have freedom.”
“Some people don’t want Christians to have a place in a society and think we should be quiet. But no, we are not going to be quiet.”
“They tried to shut Chick-fil-A down in America and it’s risen to number three behind McDonalds and Starbucks and it’s going to do the same thing in Canada because it’s good chicken delivered with a smile.”
Charles McVety gathered with a crowd to say a prayer outside Chick-fil-A. (CTV News Toronto)
In a statement to CTV News Toronto on Friday, Chick-fil-A said they respect people’s right to share their opinions.
“We want all Torontonians to know they are welcome at Chick-fil-A,” the statement said.
“Our focus is on offering a welcoming and respectful environment for our guests and team members and we encourage people to give us a try.”
The Toronto Chick-fil-A location was in the spotlight earlier this week after video surfaced online appearing to show a mouse inside the restaurant.
Protesters gathered outside Chick-fil-A on Friday. (CTV News Toronto)
In a statement, Toronto Public Health’s Associate Director of Healthy Environments Sylvanus Thompson confirmed investigators visited the building, but determined that the premises were in compliance with all pest control and other requirements of the Food Premises Regulation.
“The investigation included a more detailed focus on pest control given that the nature of the complaint was regarding a mouse on the premises,” Thompson said.
“There was no evidence of current or past pest concerns to substantiate the complaint. The premises were in compliance with all pest control and other requirements of the Food Premises Regulation.”