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New Chickenburger to pluck arts spot

Mickey MacDonald decision to put a new burger join on Queen Street instead of an arts centre causes some clucking.

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This fall, expect to see plenty of silver spandex-wearing hipsters slurping milkshakes and chomping onion rings downtown: Bedford Chickenburger owner Mickey MacDonald plans to open up a second Chickenburger just off Spring Garden Road, in the lot beside American Apparel on Queen Street.

Bernard Smith, of the Spring Garden Road Business Association, says he welcomes construction of a new Chickenburger, as he thinks the restaurant has the potential to attract business downtown. But the new Chickenburger opens amidst some controversy, as some expected the site to become a free studio/gallery space for local artists.

"It all started as a good deed," says MacDonald, who had been donating space in the lot's original building to Connections, a local non-profit organization. The IMF (which stands for Intelligent Mother Fuckers), a local rap crew including Mike Mcguire (AKA Hermitofthewoods) and Coast freelancer Michael Kimber, were working with Connections in hopes of creating a place for impoverished artists called "The Spot." Connections staff declined to be interviewed about losing the space.

"I always try to work with the kids and try to create environments where the youth can be constructive, and that's what I was trying to do there," says MacDonald. "I don't know who's fault it was, but a window was broken and left open and a pipe broke and unfortunately ruined the building, and the building had to be torn down."

MacDonald says he was unable to get the full value of his property back from his insurance company and the funds weren't available to build a new spot for The Spot. "We lost quite a bit of money on that property," he laments. Though MacDonald's not actively working with Connections anymore, he says he will continue working to improve the lives of youth at risk through donations to Capital Health and an after-school program at his Gottingen Street boxing club Palooka's.

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