Efforts are underway at City Hall to expand Toronto’s nightlife until six o’clock in the morning. We have nightclubs downtown that let out at 3:30 a.m., but the vision of the City’s Night Ambassador, Councillor Michael Thompson of Scarborough, is to boost the economy further in areas of music, fashion, film, literature, visual and performance arts.
YQNA was invited to a Nighttime Economy consultation hosted by several City departments that deal with culture, tourism, zoning, bylaws and safety. A dozen other neighbourhood associations participated, with only one from the suburbs. We learned that changes in zoning and licensing for establishments will be needed to create all-night entertainment “…while balancing the need to address potential community nuisance and public safety issues,” said City staff.
No research or economic projections were offered, nor suggestions for how so many cultural sectors can work through the night — and do they even want to? Nightclubs seemed to be the driving force in this night vision, and they are strongly supported by Toronto Music Advisory Committee (TMAC). That caught YQNA’s attention, because the Waterfront already offers a vast choice of entertainment — at Harbourfront Centre, Scotiabank Arena, Rogers Centre, Second City, Fleck Theatre, Powerplant Theatre, tour boats, outdoor arenas, festivals and events in parks. It’s enjoyable, safe and ends around midnight. It is also an economic engine for Toronto.
Big nightclubs had their time on Queens Quay. The Bamboo Club and The Guvernment both created many problems in this densely populated area. The forces in charge of noise control and safety at nightclubs can barely manage the job now, so opening the doors all night would probably make it worse.
We enjoy living and working in this vibrant recreational place by the lake. It can also be loud and challenging, so the prospect of adding entertainment throughout the night is just not acceptable. YQNA let City Councillor Ausma Malik know our decision in preparation for the Nighttime Economy proposal going before Council this year.