A housing rights group in the Rosemont-Petite-Patrie borough is organizing a boycott against a local business in a bid to help an 82-year-old photographer keep his home of 40 years.

Le Comité logement de La Petite-Patrie says the owners of the Milano grocery store on St. Laurent Boulevard want to evict Pierino Di Tonno, who lives in an apartment adjacent to the store.

"Starting over at my age isn't good. Where will I find a place for all my photos and negatives? That's the history of Montreal's Italian community," Di Tonno said.

Di Tonno returned from a recent stay in the hospital to an eviction notice from the building's owner, who wants to subdivide the apartment.


The owners of the Milano grocery store also own the apartment that Pierino Di Tonno has called home for 40 years. (Radio-Canada)

Di Tonno and a lawyer are scheduled to appear before the Régie du logement on March 8 to contest his eviction.

Comité spokesman Martin Blanchard said evictions of seniors are accelerating in the borough. He said there have been 800 eviction attempts in the last 10 years, including 200 involving tenants older than 65.

"The elderly in Petite-Patrie are being evicted at an incredible rate," he said.

The organization is urging Quebec's government to adopt legislation proposed Gouin MNA Françoise David that would offer better protections to seniors who rent.

The Comité is organizing a protest outside Milano on Saturday to pressure the owners to reconsider Di Tonno's eviction.

Both Radio-Canada and CBC have tried to contact Milano's owner, who has not replied.

Radio-Canada has confirmed the same corporation owns both the grocery store and Di Tonno's residential unit.