Store owners at a small strip mall on Lucerne Rd in Town of Mount Royal are being ordered to close their shops due to a major makeover at the site.

Katie Liu, a single-mother who immigrated from China and supports her family through her small store is one of those who must leave.

Liu says that the order comes as a major blow, as she had recently set up the store with her life savings. “I also borrowed money from friends and families to buy this store because I wanted to invest,” she said.

But in February she received a note from Capital Realties and the property owner ordered her out, as they planned to build a new complex on the same piece of land.

Liu initially believed that she would be offered a replacement unit to relocate to, but that never materialized.

And although she still has two years left on her lease, the small print showed that she could do little, as her lease agreement permits the expulsion.

The experience has deflated her sense of the Canadian dream.

“That's one reason I come from China, I think, justice, that's the most important thing. People are equal. And now, the facts, the truth is that I'm an ant. I'm just an ant,” said Liu.

Lynn Aziz, another merchant being forced out, is no less bitter.

“It's very discouraging for the independent entrepreneur it basically tells them, 'you really don't have much chance,'” she said.