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Death of Clubland (aka: Is Adam Vaughan trying to kill the Club District?)

Please don't. That has to be about the lamest, silliest argument I've ever seen on this board or the old one. Oh the poor bouncers! The poor go-go girls! Whatever will they do? Like you don't think that in a city the size of Toronto, other businesses will not take the place of the clubs that go? It's not an all-or-nothing situation. If the clubs shut down, *something* will take their place. Cities are organic, they grow, they change. It's like arguing in 1970 that the gentrification of Yorkville will put masses of coffee-house waitresses and folk singers out on the street, and chaos and economic depression will ensue. It didn't then, it won't now. New jobs will spring up, *better* jobs will spring up. I'm curious why the defense of these lower-tier service industry jobs whose existence is entirely artificial and based on nothing more than a fluke of demographics and zoning?

That area as it exists now is a sheer waste of resources, land, and space. Rezoning it to allow more residential and more office (as is beginning to be seen with RBC and Ritz) is where the city should steer that area, not as a playground for drunken suburban creeps that sucks police, cleaning and other resources away from other areas that need it. The club area, when it goes, will not be missed and the city will be better off for it.


If the Club District goes, clubs will just keep popping up in other locations...what then?

There is already quite a bit of office space used in the Club District if I remember correctly.
 
Read. More. Slowly. I am referring to the club district, not "clubs" in the general sense. Of course clubs will continue to pop up here and there, just not in the concentrated numbers and size that exist now (incidentally, the interim control by-law is also in place along College and other places). The district we have now is the specific product of specific decisions to encourage specific types of "clubs" to proliferate in a specific location. Vaughan, rightly, is attempting to change this. And yes, there are offices there now, and my argument is that they should be encouraged even more so. More web-designers, more accountants, more professionals. Fewer meathead bouncers and skanky bartenders. And to be honest, many of the buildings these clubs are in are not in any way shape or form worth saving, so I think substantial densification (RBC, Ritz, TIFF Tower, etc) should, *must*, be encouraged.

Like so much puss in a zit, these clubs should be squeezed out of where they are now.
 
Read. More. Slowly. I am referring to the club district, not "clubs" in the general sense. Of course clubs will continue to pop up here and there, just not in the concentrated numbers and size that exist now (incidentally, the interim control by-law is also in place along College and other places). The district we have now is the specific product of specific decisions to encourage specific types of "clubs" to proliferate in a specific location. Vaughan, rightly, is attempting to change this. And yes, there are offices there now, and my argument is that they should be encouraged even more so. More web-designers, more accountants, more professionals. Fewer meathead bouncers and skanky bartenders. And to be honest, many of the buildings these clubs are in are not in any way shape or form worth saving, so I think substantial densification (RBC, Ritz, TIFF Tower, etc) should, *must*, be encouraged.

Like so much puss in a zit, these clubs should be squeezed out of where they are now.

I. Know. What. You. Meant.

What I meant was that clubs will attract complaints no matter where they pop up. They also tend to open up in groups; it's just the nature of the business. When this happens, even though the numbers will be much smaller than they currently are in the club district, you're still going to get some kind of friction between the establishments and the locals.

Instead of shutting the district down, I think the city should demand more responsibility from club owners. The owners who can't deal with it will likely leave without having to shut down the entire district.

I agree that the area could use more office space, though it has a considerable amount now. Clubs and office space can cohabitate, just as they do now, however.
 
You know, it's interesting. Club districts are all over Europe. They often do sprout organically, but indeed congregate in groups. There's nothing suburban about them. And a lot of people have no problem with that. It's a party place... it's not always gonna be civilised, but let's please cut the crap about the shootings. They are no more common here than anywhere.

Club district is clearly defined, and you don't have to go there. It's a boon for the city, if anything, and could be a tourist potential if we were willing to work on it instead of shut it down. The crowds here come in the middle of the night, and not only should the pedestrians stepping out on the street not be a problem, but the street should be SHUT down during those times.

It's a gathering place, and it's fun for a lot of young people... it's incredible how conservative people can be when there cannot be one place in the city where large groups of youth can congregate. Shame on them!!!

Imagine if we had a soccer stadium with European popularity and mentality... Many people, it seems, would completely lose their shit.
 
^ I agree. Is there really any demonstrable validity to the assertion that the/a club district is an economic drag on this/any part of the city, or on the city overall? Barring that seemingly doubtful motivation, I cannot understand the vehemence of opposition to it outside of a handful of grumpy locals, and I say that as someone who could not be coerced at gunpoint to attend one of those nightmarish joints.

It's a boon for the city, if anything, and could be a tourist potential

I'm pretty sure it already is both, no?

the area could use more office space, though it has a considerable amount now. Clubs and office space can cohabitate, just as they do now

Right - what's the rub here, exactly? Residential is a problem, sure, but commercial?
 
That area as it exists now is a sheer waste of resources, land, and space. Rezoning it to allow more residential and more office (as is beginning to be seen with RBC and Ritz) is where the city should steer that area, not as a playground for drunken suburban creeps that sucks police, cleaning and other resources away from other areas that need it. The club area, when it goes, will not be missed and the city will be better off for it.

I agree that the land seems to be a waste of property located in the heart of the city. Most of the establishments are closed during the day. I am all for rezoning to allow commercial, office, and residential use on all the properties. By simply rezoning it the clubs will stay if they are the most economical use for the site and other uses will take over otherwise.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the idea of a club district though. I think having all those clubs in the same area with a visible police presence probably creates a safer environment than clubs spread across the city and there would be no way to have a visible police present at each location if it was spread across the city. I hear far more stories of stabbings and shootings after leaving a bar outside the club district than I do inside the club district. I think a mass of clubs in one area also creates a bigger draw and bringing people from outside the boundaries of the city to go clubbing inside Toronto means more jobs for Toronto. People who get drunk, sick, rowdy etc at clubs will always exist... at least when it is all in one place it is more managable.
 
Agree with Salvius

I can't believe that people on this site - some of which I'm sure have complained in the past about how our fair T-dot is unfairly shunned/put down/stereotyped/etc. by others - now support a measure which reinforces those exact steretypes we all seem to hate...

...just as were growing up as a big city - which means were becoming an exciting liveable, big, dare I say it...world class centre, someone wants to come along and shut down something that rebukes the old steretypes and instead enhances our gradually evolving image as an exciting place to live, work AND PLAY!!!!!

And all for what!? ...b/c a few nimby's and boring conservatives want to turn back the clock on our improving reputation and image...

I grew up hearing people talking favourably about other cities...and when these cities had an exciting nightlife, it was always a plus, and 'that' usually made people want to go to these places, it made them exciting and fun and energetic...

Either we accept our place as a boring, conservative sleepy town, or we crank up the progression we've made and continue to make in turning around our image and continue down the path of really being world class...

...and that means having a world class nightlife that the whole world hears about, b/c it's big, loud and a freakin blast!!!!!

I agree with some who've made such comments as, 'are we to shut down the film fest, skydome, beaches jazz fest, etc...maybe we should have bars close at 11:00 while were at it...give me a break! People shouldn't move into the 'district' and then complain that it's so noisy...if you can't stand it, then move to Burhamthorpe and Hurontario...real exciting there at midnight... ;)
 
Just as clubbers demand that others put up the residue of club activity in that general area, clubs and their patrons will have to put up with increasing residential building and the demands of thos residents in that area. The club district is not some permanent preserve worthy of special rules.
 
I generally hate clubbing, hate paying 8 bucks for a drink, hate that I pay more so that girls get in for free, am turned off by some of the people who go, and don't like all the noise. But I welcome the clubbing district, am glad that it's thriving, and hope it lasts for years to come.

So what's my secret? I'm a contented non resident. It doesn't disturb me, so I don't disturb it. This isn't rocket science!
 
Just as clubbers demand that others put up the residue of club activity in that general area, clubs and their patrons will have to put up with increasing residential building and the demands of thos residents in that area. The club district is not some permanent preserve worthy of special rules.

I don't think clubs nor their patrons have any problem whatsoever with new residential in the area.

It's easy to say that clubbers should be respectful of the residents in local condos, but what exactly do you want them to do? With that many people, even general conversation will generate quite a bit of noise.

If late night noise bothered me, I definitely wouldn't move into the club district...it seems like common sense.
 
I never sleep as well as I do when I'm wearing earplugs. Local residents should consider it... much easier than a drawn-out political bout.
 
I don't think clubs nor their patrons have any problem whatsoever with new residential in the area.

It's easy to say that clubbers should be respectful of the residents in local condos, but what exactly do you want them to do? With that many people, even general conversation will generate quite a bit of noise.

If late night noise bothered me, I definitely wouldn't move into the club district...it seems like common sense.

syn:

No, clubs and their patrons don't have a problem with residential development in the area. I doubt many of them are aware that there are residents living there.

The issue with the district is that there about 80 such clubs in a one square kilometre area. There is a record of problems and complaints concerning noise, violence and other issues due to the 60,000 to 70,000 people who concentrate in such a small area from Thursday to Saturday. On those nights club activity overwhelms the area. As for conversations potentially causing a problem, that ain't the problem; for starters there have been numerous complaints concerning some club owners who refuse to obey the laws concerning sound. And I doubt that many of the club owners (or patrons) live there.

The area in question will continue to see residential development in spite of the clubs. Proximity to downtown and to many cultural venues will eventually see a change in the complexion of the neighbourhood, and that will mean a reduction in the number of clubs in that one area. Such clubs will not vanish from the vicinity, but they will be reduced in number. There is already a freeze on opening any more such venues.
 
Here's John Barber's typical take on the issue.

It's high time to kick against the troglodytes

JOHN BARBER

E-mail John Barber | Read Bio | Latest Columns
Ihaven't heard the word "hooligan" since I was a boy. It was used by the troglodytes who then (as now) colonized City Hall in such numbers to describe any young male with hair over his collar, which was ridiculous.

But hearing the word again this week, on the lips of rookie councillor Adam Vaughan, is almost thrilling. At last, somebody in authority is talking straight about the disaster of the so-called "entertainment district."

It takes some courage to speak honestly about the revellers kicking off another season of bloody mayhem downtown this weekend - with the kicks aimed, likely as not, at one of the dozens of police officers called from across the city to keep order there. Mr. Vaughan's repeated use of the H-word has gotten him into trouble with his wife and raised suspicions across the city that he really is a grim, humourless scold.

"Yes, it's pejorative, it's rife with Thatcherism, it's a very charged word," he says. "But look it up."


Hooligan: a noisy and

violent person. It's rather an understatement when applied to the smashing, shouting and vomiting characters who

make life in the entertainment district so colourful every weekend.

"What I'm saying is that that behaviour, in that neighbourhood, has got to change."

If people think the local councillor is being a wet blanket in his recent sally against the warehouse clubs, demanding rent for their use of sidewalks to queue up customers, they should consider the real policing that occurs four nights a week in the district. It's an enormous operation of considerable danger to those in the yellow slickers waiting for the clubs to empty at closing time, when 60,000 drunk and drugged suburbanites pour into the streets, looking for fun. Every kind of creep revels in the entertainment district, and every kind of cop is needed to keep them down.

First in line are the bicycle officers from nearby 52 Division, supplemented by plainclothes officers from the same division - successors to the crew that was so corrupted by local club owners it was broken up, and two of its members arrested on criminal charges.

Each of the other eight central field divisions lends an officer to the party, while 52 supplies several others on overtime. Then, of course, there are the mounted police, whose presence is absolutely necessary to maintain order when things get fun.

Following them is a virtual swarm of officers from specialized units. The Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy now has a fourth team dedicated exclusively to the area. Members of the Guns and Gangs Task Force target known criminals on the streets, while officers from the Urban Organized Crime Task Force sniff out higher-ups behind the velvet ropes.

Paramedics cruise on bicycles to triage the nastiest injuries because ambulances cannot penetrate the hooligan-choked streets.

You really have to see Richmond Street West at 3 a.m. to "appreciate the challenges" it presents, according to Staff Sergeant Chris Fernandes, who is in charge of the 52 Division bicycle squad.

Since he arrived three years ago, Staff Sgt. Fernandes says, the crowds have grown, gang activity and incidents involving weapons have both increased - and more police are being injured in the regularly scheduled melee.

It's common for police to be jumped by onlookers while trying to break up a fight, he says. Last year, one of his bicyclists was stabbed in the head. This year, he's back on the job. But the detail is gruelling.

"We know it's alcohol- and drug-induced, and we're dealing with that," Staff Sgt. Fernandes says. But it's harder to deal with the attitude of ordinary people from all walks of life, "not necessarily criminals," who turn so ugly on Saturday nights.

"We're very interested in keeping it safe so people will want to be there," Staff Sgt. Fernandes says. "But if we can't keep ourselves safe down there, we can't keep the district safe."

The big hope this season is that eight new security cameras, prominently mounted at key sites with signs announcing their intention, will help police keep order - or, failing that, provide evidence in the aftermath of the usual riot. Street lights are being doubled in power to accent the cheerful prison-camp ambience.

Despite their best efforts, police and civic authorities - more teams of specialists, attacking the district from every angle - have failed to gain the co-operation of the club owners. That's where Mr. Vaughan comes in.

"The club owners are as unruly as the hooligans," he says, dismissing the complaints they occasionally direct through lawyers, and promising more pressure on every front. Store owners on Queen Street West can no longer obtain insurance for display windows because they are so often broken, he says. "It's not smash and grab; just smash." Pools of vomit curdle on every doorstep in the aftermath.

"People think they're just drunk kids, no more disorderly than frat boys singing beer-hall anthems on their way home," Mr. Vaughan says. "But the level of violence and the destruction of property is really quite staggering.

"I'm not trying to ban dancing. I'm not a Baptist. It's just a matter of civility."

Sure, he says, the majority of kids in the district are innocent fun seekers who cause no trouble. "But the hooligans do."

Let fire and brimstone rain upon them.

jbarber@globeandmail.com

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60,000 drunk and drugged suburbanites pour into the streets, looking for fun.

Of course. It's never our kind. It's always "suburbanites" who cause the problem. Knowing Toronto, of course, that's as loaded a term as saying it's kids from the banlieue that cause all the problems in Paris, but the Vaughan/Barber types toss these terms around without any doubt in their minds that they're the most progressive people around.

Sure, he says, the majority of kids in the district are innocent fun seekers who cause no trouble. "But the hooligans do."

Of course. We need to eliminate all the clubs because a few people break the law. Alright, well I can think of a lot of other places that should be shut down because a few patrons break the law.

"I'm not trying to ban dancing. I'm not a Baptist. It's just a matter of civility."
No, he's not a Baptist. He's not doing it for any higher moral or even ideological reason. He's the worst kind of politician doing absolutely anything he can for a few votes, in this case, for the votes of the neighbourhood NIMBYs. Well, I live in the neighbourhood, I don't go to clubs, and he won't be getting my vote.
 
syn:

No, clubs and their patrons don't have a problem with residential development in the area. I doubt many of them are aware that there are residents living there.

The issue with the district is that there about 80 such clubs in a one square kilometre area. There is a record of problems and complaints concerning noise, violence and other issues due to the 60,000 to 70,000 people who concentrate in such a small area from Thursday to Saturday. On those nights club activity overwhelms the area. As for conversations potentially causing a problem, that ain't the problem; for starters there have been numerous complaints concerning some club owners who refuse to obey the laws concerning sound. And I doubt that many of the club owners (or patrons) live there.

The area in question will continue to see residential development in spite of the clubs. Proximity to downtown and to many cultural venues will eventually see a change in the complexion of the neighbourhood, and that will mean a reduction in the number of clubs in that one area. Such clubs will not vanish from the vicinity, but they will be reduced in number. There is already a freeze on opening any more such venues.

I agree club owners should bear more responsibility for keeping noise down, etc. But with the number of clubs in the area, even with a reduction there will still be many establishments and noise in the area.

I can't see the residents who are complianing (or Vaughn for that matter) happy until they're all pretty much eliminated.

I'm curious to see some crime statistics for the area.
 
.
Time to tame clubs gone wild?

Council mulls Entertainment District limits

by John Spears
May 5, 2007

http://www.thestar.com/News/article/210701


How many nightclubs in a neighbourhood is too many?

Toronto councillors will wrestle with that question later this year after city staff, on a request by the licensing and standards committee, take a look at the concentration of clubs in the downtown Entertainment District.

Councillor Adam Vaughan, who represents the area, pleaded for limits on the number of clubs in the area.

At closing time, the clubs disgorge tens of thousands of customers into the streets, many of them unruly.

"We've hit a saturation point," Vaughan said.

"I have a list of 336 licensed establishments in the area inside the Entertainment District. Quite clearly, the land use is overwhelming the neighbourhood."

Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) said clubs flocked to the King-Spadina neighbourhood because they were pushed out of other parts of the city.

Wide-open zoning laws in the district place few restrictions on the types of businesses that can open there, he said, and plenty of buildings have space that can readily be turned into bars and clubs.

Dozens of police officers are assigned to the area, Vaughan said, draining other parts of the city. Councillor Mike Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt) was skeptical of the need to limit businesses when the real problem appears to be enforcement.

"Where are the police?" he said. "What are they doing to ensure public safety when we have so many of them in this part of town?"

Vaughan said the district's police presence, numbering in the dozens, is swamped by bar patrons in the thousands.

"Last weekend at one of the rooftop patios, there was a wedding party," he said.

"They started throwing beer bottles down at the lineup trying to get into the establishment.

"When the police showed up, they rained down furniture and all sorts of other stuff. It's a situation that gets out of control so quickly and so profoundly, it amazes everyone except those who live in the community."

Del Grande also argued that the complaining residents should have known the sort of neighbourhood they had chosen to move to: "If you have an airport and you buy a house by the airport, you have to expect planes to fly," he said.

But Vaughan said the nightclub explosion is relatively recent – a phenomenon that harms other businesses when they're vandalized by rowdy mobs.

"The reality is we've built the landing strip in the middle of their neighbourhood, and they're now complaining about it," he said.

"They complained about it at the time, and they were ignored."

The Entertainment District was so named because it included venues like the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Roy Thomson Hall and the Rogers Centre, he said. The bars came later.

"I'd like the Entertainment District to be a little bit more entertaining, and a little bit less horrific," he said.

Vaughan had already asked staff to report on the idea of charging club owners a permit fee for the right to line up customers on the sidewalk outside.

Staff will also consider ideas like requiring clubs to be a certain distance apart, or a certain distance from residential areas; requiring clubs to put lineups indoors instead of on the sidewalk; requiring security cameras; or charging a licence fee for policing.

Councillor Rob Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) opposed the idea, saying the province is creating the problem by issuing too many licences.

"If you don't issue liquor licences, these bars can't open," he said.

"It looks like the onus is on us, when we don't have any control over it."



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Vaughan: "I'd like the Entertainment District to be ... a little bit less horrific"

Ford: "If you don't issue liquor licences, these bars can't open"

Impossible to decide who's The Gianter Asshole at this point - Vaughan, the absurdly hysterical and craven faux-nimby, or Ford, the overtly anti-democratic drunken boor.

...It's always "suburbanites" who cause the problem. Knowing Toronto, of course, that's as loaded a term as saying it's kids from the banlieue that cause all the problems in Paris, but the Vaughan/Barber types toss these terms around without any doubt in their minds that they're the most progressive people around. ... He's not doing it for any higher moral or even ideological reason. He's the worst kind of politician doing absolutely anything he can for a few votes, in this case, for the votes of the neighbourhood NIMBYs.

Well said.
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