THUNDER BAY – The campaign to raise funds to save the famous Hoito Restaurant in Thunder Bay has reached an important milestone. On June 29th, 2020 the ‘Save the Hoito’ GoFundMe crowdfunding page reached its fundraising goal of $25,000. These funds are an important contribution to a broader effort to save the Finnish Labour Temple, the building in which the Hoito Restaurant is housed, after the Finlandia Association of Thunder Bay was forced into liquidation. Reaching this milestone brings us one step closer to reaching our goal!
The GoFundMe campaign was launched by Lyndsay Williams, a student at Lakehead University. Williams, now a Board Member of the newly formed Finlandia Co-operative of Thunder Bay, said she was motivated to save the iconic restaurant in terms that have clearly resonated with the broader community.
As Paula Haapanen of the Finlandia Co-operative notes “The Finnish Labour Temple has deep roots in the Finnish community but its reach has always been beyond that. Lyndsay’s initiative and the GoFundMe campaign represent that reach and illustrate yet again how the whole community is ready to rally around the Hoito and the Hall. It’s a great first milestone on this journey and a great foundation for building a diverse and thriving community hub that everyone can enjoy.” The Co-operative was formed to ensure that the Finnish Labour Temple and its assets, including the Hoito, remain in the hands of the community.
Founded on May 1, 1918, and in continuous operation ever since, the Hoito Restaurant itself operated as a consumers’ co-operative until 1974. We are still a long way from our overall goal of $200,000, so the campaign will stay open for continued community support: donations have been rolling into both the account at Bay Credit Union and through this campaign so the co-operative is hopeful with the community support that they will be successful.