Somerset fire ravages The Daily Grind and other businesses, but community rallies to help


Featured image from Twitter user: @OttawaFirePIO

On Wednesday, October 21, a four-alarm fire devastated the buildings at Somerset W. and Percy St. and ravaged four businesses and multiple apartments. Many of us could hear the sirens blaring and smoke rising from the area, and anxiously waited news on the situation. As photos started spreading through social media, it became obvious that things were much worse than we could have imagined. All that remained is the collapsed buildings charred with the black soot and good memories of what once was.

What started as a small fire on the second floor of The Daily Grind quickly spread out of control, eventually affecting Middle East Bakery, Shiraz Food Market, A Dark Cloud tattoo parlour, and apartments upstairs. CBC reported that no one was injured and that there were around $1 million in damages reported.

It’s hard to know where to start. The Daily Grind was a quaint little art cafe and bistro, but it was so much more than that. It was one of the neatest little places to see music in Ottawa, and although unconventional, shows were always really fun there. I was always amazed by how much that little spot did with the room that they had. Whether it was local art being featured on the walls, bands playing right in front of the window facing the sidewalk, or important social events and meetings happening upstairs, the DG was always abuzz. Ottawa Showbox has had many important meetings and interviews their that have translated into the material that ends up on our website. A friendly staff, a great atmosphere, and delicious local craft beer and food were always staples of the place. You couldn’t go wrong.

Whenever something this devastating happens nearby, the community reels and many of us empathize with those affected by the situation. We’re still stunned by the loss of such a hub of the arts community, not to mention the impact it will have on the owners of all the small businesses that were damaged due to the fire. That begs the question: what can we do as a community to help?

Well, there are a few options that have popped up just recently:

 Somerset St. Fire Victim’s Fund

  • A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise funds for those that were directly affected by the fire. Money raised will be split according to demonstrated need by businesses/residents that suffered a loss from the fire.

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Centretown Community ‘Tough Times’ Network

  • This supportive community network was established in the past to help people in the area that have been struck by unforeseeable and crippling tragedy. This network connects us as neighbours lending a hand – sign up to offer financial assistance, items such as shampoo, clothing, or food to those who have lost their possessions.

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Fund for residents who lost apartment and possessions

  • Another GoFundMe campaign has been established specifically for the residents who were affected by the fire. Set up by Ska Jeff, who is an active member of the music and punk community in Ottawa, this fund will help to get the residents back on their feet after they lost most of their possessions – not to mention the roof over their heads.

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Facebook Group: Support for Daily Grind and surrounding businesses

  • This Facebook group was set up immediately after the news hit about the fire. There are over 200 people on board only one day after! The organizers are encouraging people to start sharing their thoughts about how we can all help, and there has even been talk of a fundraising event to be organized in the near future. We’ll keep an eye on this, but in the meantime, be sure to join the group.

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Hand Massages at Support Local Pinball Tournament on Oct. 28

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One Big Benefit at Babylon Nightclub

  • Friends and community have joined forces to have a whole night in support of those affected by the fire. DJ Jas Nasty will be spinning some sweet tunes all night, and there will be lots of prizes to be raffled off.
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CLAUDE MUNSON & KETURAH JOHNSON – Somerset Fire Fundraiser – Folkin’ Tuesdays

  • On Nov. 3, Folkin’ Tuesday we will be donating 10% of evening food sales, collecting monetary donations, and having a raffle with prizes and swag to raise money. Featured artists include the talents of Keturah Johnson and Claude Munson.

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  • This concert in the park will be a fun community event, right in front of where the fire occurred at Dundonald Park. Swing by for music, coffee and baked goods, bottle drive, clothing drive, face painting and balloon animals!


If any more ways to help victims of the fire become available, we will update this post. Our thoughts go out to all those affected. We’re here for you. Here are a few links to past articles we wrote that featured The Daily Grind.