In a time when multiple music venues across Toronto have been closing their doors, CityNews has learned that all the necessary government hurdles have been cleared to open a new mid-sized venue in the city’s east end.
The unnamed venue, to be operated by Live Nation, would occupy part of a building that currently houses Champions Off-Track Betting at 1661 Queen Street East, just steps from Coxwell Avenue and Woodbine Park.
According to the area councillor, the venue would seat 2,700 people, host up to 150 events per year, with a target opening date of October 2018.
Coun. Josh Colle chairs the Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council. He says the venue would fill a current gap in the city’s music scene.
“We’re great on the smaller end of venues and, of course, we’ve got the big Air Canada Centres,” Colle told CityNews. “But something like this that’s kind of more mid-range is often what’s identified by the industry as a gap in the Toronto venue kind of ecosystem.”
City officials have yet to receive any formal drawings for the venue. An application for a minor variance to alter the existing building was submitted to the city on July 27, 2016 by EMM Financial Corp. In an email to CityNews, Live Nation would only say discussions are ongoing with the landlord and that the company is not in a position to comment at this time.
“We’re very excited to host a venue of this size, any live music venue in the east end, the sleepy east end,” said Beaches-East York Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon.
McMahon adds that the proposal has passed all the necessary zoning hurdles and has the blessing of all three levels of government.
“We think it’s a great location. It’s just on the streetcar line, there’s an express buses, there’s buses right up to the subway station,” said McMahon.
McMahon is also downplaying any potential concern from local residents about noise or an influx of traffic.
“You have to be aware of the economic value to your neighbourhood and promoting and supporting our local musicians. Most of us go to concerts at some point. So it’s like going to Massey Hall or the Danforth Music Hall. So if we go to a concert in someone else’s ward, we can also host people for music events in our ward.”
“I think it shows the strength of the music industry,” said Colle. “While some have closed… there are venues opening too.”