Word that Justin Bieber was canceling two Toronto concerts reached Tania Gardella just as she made it to the front of the long line of fans waiting to shop for merchandise at the Justice World Tour Pop-Up in Yorkville on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Calgary nursing home worker was crushed when she overheard others talking about the Instagram post announcing that, due to non-COVID related illness, the Canadian pop star would not be playing Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
“Can’t believe I’m saying this,” Bieber wrote. “I’ve done everything to get better but my sickness is getting worse.”
“My heart breaks that I will have to postpone these next few shows (doctors orders). To all my people I love you so much and I’m gonna rest and get better!”
A legion of fans, some who traveled even greater distances, took to social media on Tuesday to express their disappointment and best wishes at the news that for a third time, the Canadian musician had to bow out of Toronto concert dates.
A Twitter post subsequently confirmed that Bieber’s scheduled concert in Washington, DC, on Friday has also been cancelled.
Staff at Scotiabank Arena released a statement confirming that Toronto tickets will be honored for rescheduled dates, which will be announced shortly.
But Gardella, who has been a fan since she was 12 and who flew in from Alberta to attend both shows this week, doesn’t know if she’ll have another chance to see Bieber.
“His music got me through a lot of hard times and because of him, I am the best version of myself,” she said. “Today I thought I was going to see him in person. I honestly thought my dream would come true, but instead I’m heartbroken.”
Jennifer Near and Melissa Malloy, both 46, had already begun driving from their homes in Simcoe, Ont., having purchased floor seats for Tuesday’s show. Near had her hair done and the women had stocked the car with Tim Biebs and Biebs Brew from Tim Hortons for the 90-minute drive. They had booked a hotel in Toronto to make the most of their evening.
It was supposed to be Malloy’s first big concert experience. She said Beiber was “probably the only one I would spend this kind of money on.” Their tickets were about $800 each.
Rolling down the highway, Near decided to tweet a radio station to request Malloy’s favorite song — Bieber’s hit “Peaches.” That’s when they learned that the Toronto dates had been postponed.
“We went from super excited to what do we do now?” said Near.
It was the third time she had set out to see Bieber. The first time she bought a ticket was for the concert in 2020, part of the Changes Tour, which was canceled due to COVID-19. Those dates were rescheduled for 2021 but Near had to forfeit her ticket because, having lost work during the pandemic, she couldn’t afford to go.
In the end, the performances were bumped a second time into 2022, and one show did go ahead in March.
But the friends haven’t given up. On Tuesday they were looking at Bieber’s tour dates for clues to when the Toronto concerts might be rescheduled again. Their mission, they said, is to snag front-row seats.
“We’re not going to get mad because he’s really sick. He’s human. I’m sure he doesn’t want to let his fans down,” said Near.
Here’s what more fans are saying:
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