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North York residents raise concerns over sex doll brothel

Last Updated Aug 28, 2018 at 5:17 pm EDT

A sex doll brothel set to open in North York next month is raising concerns from area residents.

Carla Amodio says she noticed posters for Aura Dolls Brothel in her neighbourhood near Yonge and Sheppard two weeks ago.

“At first I thought it was a joke,” said Amodio, who, along with other parents, tore down a number of the ads for the shop.

“To me, that type of business doesn’t belong here.”

The shop, which is set to open Sept. 8, will offer private rooms with hi-tech silicone dolls designed for sex. The plaza it is said to be moving in to is home to a dry cleaner and nail salon, as well as an illegal cannabis dispensary and a body rub parlour.

Amodio said she’s planning to start a petition, and has reached out to her area councillor.

“We walk by there, bike by there, and there are several elementary schools too,” she explained.

Amodio isn’t the only resident concerned about the new business moving in.

“I’ve had a lot of calls, mostly from parents saying, ‘how do we explain this to our kids?’ ” area councillor John Fillion told CityNews.

Fillion said he is already looking into what city bylaws could be enforced, including one he introduced about 20 years ago. It restricts sex retail shops in North York to industrial areas.

“Our city staff need to look at the wording and see if that does the trick,” Fillion explained, though it’s unclear if the law is even still on the books.

“If not, we’ll have to come up with something else.”

Aura Dolls Brothel says it is incorporated, though city officials tell CityNews they do not have any sort of licence with the city. The City of Toronto issues licences to businesses like adult entertainment clubs and body rub parlours, but not to sex workers or brothels.

A spokesperson for Aura Dolls Brothel told CityNews it doesn’t believe the company is breaking any laws. They believe their service can benefit those suffering from social anxiety and help curb sex trafficking.

A statement sent to CityNews reads in part: “…Since this is a new and unfamiliar concept it is understandable that this will raise concerns and resistance, however, as we move further into the modern age of technology we must be open to the new ideas and concepts that come with it as long as it is safe for everybody. We hope to see that our community is willing to adapt to these changes with an open mind since nobody is being hurt or negatively affected by this service. Of course, this will always be a controversial topic but we believe that the positive attributes of this service immensely outweigh the negative ones… ”

Fillion said even if the business is legal, the city has a right regulate where its located.

“There is nowhere I particularly want to see this – it’s the kind of thing people should do in their homes,” he said.

“But if you’re looking at it from a zoning point of view, it should be in an industrial area away from residences and schools where kids and families hang out.”