Mingle Room closing just over a month after Ashton Dickson's death, says councillor

The Mingle Room Bar & Lounge on Rideau Street is shutting down a little more than a month after a former high school and university football star from Ottawa was shot to death out front, says the councillor for the area.

On Monday Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury, tweeted that the “problematic spot” was closed down. 

“We met with the property owner and he recognized that the zoning use was not permitted. You could not have a nightclub in that location. You were allowed a restaurant. He recognized that and proceeded with an eviction of the operator,” Fleury said.

“We decided to proceed with multiple fronts, that’d be bylaw services, that’d be zoning, that it would be public health, that it would be the [Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario]. We’re all working on different strategies.”

Ashton Dickson

Ashton Dickson, 25, was killed by a single gunshot outside the Mingle Room Bar and Grill in the early hours of June 26. (St. Francis Xavier University)

Ashton Dickson, 25, was killed by a single gunshot outside the Ottawa bar in the early hours of June 26. Dickson played running back at St. Patrick’s High School in Ottawa and later at St. Francis Xavier University.

At the time of the shooting, Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau told reporters the incident began as a “minor argument” inside the Mingle Room Bar and Grill before spilling out into the street.

Neighbours upset

At the time of the shooting the bar’s manager, Ardy Rahmani, confirmed there was an argument between Dickson and another patron over cutting in line, but Rahmani said it had nothing to do with the homicide that later occurred.

“Prior to the homicide happening, nothing inside indicated to myself or my staff that there was going to be an altercation outside, that there would be a death that would occur,” said Rahmani, who has been managing the Mingle Room since it opened three and a half years ago.

Nearby residents and business owners then started a petition to shut down the bar.

Jocelyn Matthias has spent most of her life living in the neighbourhood and said she’s not sure Mingle Room closing will bring much peace to the neighbourhood.

“Lately stuff has been really bad,” she said. “I’ve never been so scared to live in a unit before.”

The mother of two said she no longer feels safe walking with her young kids.

“My neighbourhood definitely was affected by [Dickson’s death], for sure.”

Fleury said he understands the community’s frustration, but the city had to follow due process. 

“They don’t always go as fast because sometimes the owner might bring us to court and we have to defend our approach in court,” he said.

“I think it will go a long way in making it safer,” said Fleury. “It was drawing a night aspect in and along Rideau Street. I know it’s a main street, but in and around [it’s] residential which wasn’t desirable.”

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