The changing face of Toronto's Entertainment Culture - Back to Our Roots.
Monday May 01st, 2017Share
The King Edward Hotel Ballroom
With the constant talk of inflated markets, rising rents, and unbearable housing prices, it's hard to imagine that years' old venues are set to open their doors once again.
On Wednesday, Toronto's first luxury hotel, known as the King Edward, opened it's doors to the public once more - and it is already booked through to 2018.
Built over 100 years ago in 1903, and opening as a hotel in 1922, the large ballroom has held many high profile events including a state dinner, many musical performances, and famously was host to 700 doctors and nurses for the announcement of the polio vaccine.
The King Edward Hotel closed it's ballroom doors in 1979, the functions ceased, and the room fell slowly into disrepair.
Over the past few decades since the venue has closed it's doors, some people have managed to get a peek inside, a few even posing for photo shoots including a few brides and Drake for a magazine spread.
One of the most surprising uses of the space during it's hiatus was the fly fishing classes that were offered for a shot time. Fly fishing enthusiasts were able to take advantage of the large open space and practice their casting from the balcony.
But now, the ballroom is back. After 6.5 million in renovations, it will continue operating as an events space and ballroom.
Sorry - no more fly fishing..
The space has already been booked at least once every month until 2018. The starting price to book an evening event in the ballroom is $50,000, so you'd better start saving now...
Toronto's Music Scene
Toronto's entertainment scene has been in the headlines recently due to the number of music venues which have had to shut down in the city over the past few years. Many people are voicing their concern that the city is loosing a large part of it's music culture and support for musicians.
This week, Mayor John Tory acknowledged concerns and explained that city hall plans to play a bigger role in the future of Toronto's Music scene. His comments come with the start of Canadian Music Week, and are welcome words to Toronto's live music community.
Tory explains, "we're at our height of music success but the Toronto area has always been a place where artists and musicians have had global reach," continuing, "I know some in this audience may be sceptical of my positivity as live music venues are closing, but venues are opening too. I'm optimistic that over the next 12 months, we're going to see wins for the industry on live music venues - nobody in the world has the diversity that we do on our music elite list. We also have more live shows happening on any given day in Toronto than almost any other city in North America."
In addition to aiming to bolster the Toronto Music scene on the surface, Tory committed to having music play a bigger part in the city planning process. Tory concluded, "I am absolutely committed to the music industry and playing the part city hall is meant to play."
With the commitment to strengthening the music scene, Tory is opening up the possiblity for a new generation of Toronto musicians. If new venues open over the next few years (and existing venues don't close), we should hopefully see Toronto exporting more world-class musical talent, as well as being a leader on the world stage in entertainment options and investment.
Universal Studios just announced they are opening an office and performance space in Liberty Village. Drake was just named the international artist of the year.
Toronto is poised to seize a fantastic opportunity.
Closed due to zoning issues, the Matador Ballroom could once again be opening it's doors. Known for being a dive bar and sporting a 'flexible' last call, the owner of the venue says that he doesn't plan on reviving the bar's old image.
At first he was considering selling, but after a meeting with the mayors office and many councillors, they have agreed to work with him on submitting a new zoning application. His new vision for the old ballroom space is to open a combination restaurant, art studio, entertainment space, and workspace. He explains that he is, "cautiously optimistic as I can see that a team effort may be possible with the mayor and councillors onside,".
If successful, he will be another business owner reviving an old Toronto landmark, as well as helping to grow and support the community around him.
What's Next for Toronto?
Toronto has seen a massive change in the city over the past few decades; some better than others. Still though, Toronto remains a main player on the world stage when it comes to hosting and entertainment. We announced the Polio vaccine. We have exported the International Artist of The Year. We have more live shows than any city in North America.
It's hard to tell what's next for Toronto, as there has been so much change in just a few years. We can expect however, that Toronto will continue to become a bigger player on the world stage and hopefully secure its place as a city which supports and champions it's artists and entertainment culture.