Calgary gay bar forced to remove large pride flag raised for Orlando shooting

Click to play video: 'Calgary landlord demands pride flag come down'
Calgary landlord demands pride flag come down
WATCH ABOVE: On Sunday a Calgary gay bar draped an enormous pride flag across the side of their building, but days later their landlord demanded it be taken down. Sarah Offin explains – Jun 15, 2016

It was meant to be a symbol of support for a community reeling in the wake of an unimaginable tragedy.

“The flag was put up there to be in solidarity with our brothers in Florida – that was my only purpose – was to say, ‘Hey we’re here. We’re behind you,’” RJ Fafard, the owner of the bar Twisted Element said. “I never thought this was going to turn into a huge fight.”

After three days of flying an enormous flag, which was draped over the side of a building on 11 Avenue S.W., owners say they were forced by their landlord to remove it.

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“The text message basically said: ‘You think you own the building, why did you do this? You didn’t ask permission. Remove it ASAP – or else.’”

In a statement Wednesday, landlord Trevor Tomanik said, in part: “The building has another tenant on the second floor and the lease requires that any exterior signage be approved. In this case, the flag that Twisted Element put up covered windows on the second floor.”

But Fafard believes that reasoning is fabricated.

“There are no tenants. There may be something on paper but there have been no physical bodies up there for the last two years,” Fafard said.

He also goes on to suggest concerns about signage are unfounded.

“Signage, by definition from City Hall, is anything that has your logo or your company name on it. So this is not signage.”

While the flag is now removed, the LGBTQ community continues to lean on one another in other ways for support.

“I have one of my customers who – his best friend – his boyfriend actually got shot and killed. So again, it’s a very tight-knit community. Everybody knows somebody that is there. Everyone knows that club,” Fafard said.

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READ MORE: ‘As a family, we mourn the loss of life’: Calgary Pride responds to Orlando shooting 

The landlord said Wednesday afternoon that he and Twisted Element have now worked out a more permanent solution to fly additional pride flags on the building, but the ordeal has left Fafard with deep regret.

“To detract away from what is going on… that was the furthest thing from my mind. I would like to apologize to my gay community.”

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