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Snowdon toy store closing; owner blames new bus lane

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A beloved toy store in Montreal's Snowdon neighbourhood is closing in June and going online-only.

After being in operation for more than seven decades, the owner of Jack & Jill says a new bus lane is hurting business.

"My sales have dropped probably 25 per cent or more," Barbara Vininsky, 73, told CTV News.

The reserved bus lane, which opened in November 2022, is directly in front of the store on Queen Mary Road.

Customers can't park there from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. -- prime time for Vininsk's young clientele.

"[Parents] tell the kids, you know, there's no place to park. How many times can they go around? 'We'll come another day,' and they just go home," she explained.

Customer Marissa Frishman said she's noticed the change.

"The parking is somewhat difficult, and we know that it's tough for people to get here during the school hours," she said.

Vininsky and other proprietors in the area previously opposed the bus lane, fearing it would impact business.

Snowdon city councillor Sonny Moroz voted for the project. He now wants to see what impact it has on the commercial street.

"Detail wise, I agree fully with the bus lane, but I'm asking for a study both economically and on how we can optimize this bus lane," Moroz said.

In a statement, Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Mayor Gracia Kasoki Katahwa said, "we are saddened by the closure of Jack & Jill."

She said she's aware that the economic context is currently very difficult for local businesses, but added it's worth noting that several new businesses have opened on Queen Mary Road since the addition of the bus lane.

But for Vininsky, the decision has caused lasting damage.

"To me, [Kasoki Katahwa] and her administration have pushed us out of business."

Vininsky says she'll cherish the next few months at Jack & Jill, which her family has run for generations.

  

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