Art canvasses, photos, and murals cover the vibrant walls of the newly opened Pop Soda's Coffeehouse & Gallery. An assortment of dinning room tables, restaurant booths, and couches are spread between the 7,000 sq-ft space that once was three vacant units on Portage Avenue. 21 year old owner, Christine Boss smiles and looks around the room. “We wanted to fuse art, music, and good food into one,” said Boss. Boss along with her husband Pelligrino Santorelli, former owner of the Rogues Gallery and Tomato Pie, opened the labour of love on Sept. 27, 2011. The choice of location was simple for Boss as she used to live only a few blocks away and wanted to be a part of the renewal happening in the area. “There’s the whole revitalization of Downtown; we want to be a part of it and we thought we had a great idea for it,” Boss said. Inside Boss wanted it to resemble the Rogues Gallery, where art from local artists could be enjoyed, share and created but on a larger scale. “We want to encourage creativity,” said Boss, who shares a space in the restaurant with a resident artist, free of charge. "I'm super blessed," said Emily Lund, current resident. Lund is renting the space for six months and showcasing her work in the studio, as well as on the walls and tables of the restaurant. For an up and coming artist Lund knows the difficulties getting her artwork out into the public. "Within three week I was having dinner with the curator of the WAG,” Lund said while listing the opportunities this space has given her. But more that just great art Boss hopes to design a place that would be accommodating for people with kids. “We wanted our daughter to grow up here- like we want her to have a home life, but we want a place where she… maybe [one day] want to come her with her friends,” she said about her 14 month old daughter Arianna, who they hope one day might take over the business. Boss points to a back room that she wants to turn into a nap room, with individual monitors, so parents can get out of the house without leaving their kids with someone else. She sees a need for a place where parents can have a chill space and their kids can remain a priority. “We are putting out heart on our sleeves and offering us; we are putting it all out there for people,” said Boss as she looks at what the future of Pop Soda may hold.

**An article I wrote for The Projector. Seen in their November 7th issue***

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