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

I think there's something to be said for moderation. Nobody is suggesting that we shut down any clubs, just that there be more consideration to fixing some of the worst problems of the district (such as the fights).

That said, sidewalk fees for lineups are yet another foolish idea from Vaughan. Clubs already pay licensing fees so there's no need for more regulation. If unruly crowds are a problem then the city needs to deploy more police officers, end of story! I'm sure that the taxes the clubs pay more than cover the cost of the extra officers, and if not, then raise the licensing fee.
 
Here's an idea they might want to consider - longer drinking hours and longer hours for clubs - that would help spread out the crowd rather than have them all leaving at once.

That's obviously not a total solution, but combined with more responsibility from club owners it could help.
 
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.

The hooligans are loose! The hooligans are loose! What if they become ruffians?

- Bill Hicks
 
I'm agreeing more with Vaughan on this issue, especially after Max Allen's walk this evening. The Entertainment District was brought out of a very 1980s concept, and the city has since moved into a multi-use area. There was a good discussion about this.

The clubs are ugly (for the most part) are cheaply designed, do little for the community or the economy (there's no spillover (retail in the area is mostly closed, even at 8PM) except maybe the pizza stores at 2AM and the taxi drivers), there's trash everywhere after the bars close, the police prescence is huge on Friday and Saturday night (and cops brought in from divisions across the city). I think people might be against he club district for the wrong reasons, but it really doesn't do much. The north side of Richmond is full of vacant clubs. Many of the club owners are not great businessmen - there's a high turnover in this industry, as installing a bar, hiring some tenders and bouncers, putting in a sound system and turning down the lights to mask the poor design (just have disco bars and some flashing coloured lights), takes little capital.

BTW, the homeless transitional centre is going in across from the Fez, next to 401 Richmond. Nobody complained this time.

I also take back my suggestion that Vaughan go to Ottawa or Queen's Park. I disagree with a lot of what he says, but I think he has some good ideas, really wants to turn the neighbourhoods around in the Dundas-Spadina area, is very intellegent, centre-left without being a pro-Miller councillor (need some of these), and community-orientated. Better than half the people on council anyway.
 
And honestly: if I want to whine about political and bureaucratic fuddy-duddies cracking down on "fun", I'd rather point to the nuking of the Promise events at Cherry Beach than the threats to the club district.

Speaking up on behalf of the club district is like speaking up on behalf of condo supertalls. If we want to use 1979-style derogatory rubric, it's like, so, *disco*....
 
Madam Life's a piece in bloom
Death goes dogging everywhere:
She's the tenant of the room,
He's the ruffian on the stair.

You shall see her as a friend,
You shall bilk him once or twice;
But he'll trap you in the end,
And he'll stick you for her price.

With his kneebones at your chest,
And his knuckles in your throat,
You would reason - plead - protest!
Clutching at her petticoat.

But she's heard it all before,
Well she knows you've had your fun,
Gingerly she gains the door,
And your little job is done


- William Ernest Henley ( 1849-1903 )
 
The clubs are ugly (for the most part) are cheaply designed, do little for the community or the economy (there's no spillover (retail in the area is mostly closed, even at 8PM) except maybe the pizza stores at 2AM and the taxi drivers), there's trash everywhere after the bars close, the police prescence is huge on Friday and Saturday night (and cops brought in from divisions across the city). I think people might be against he club district for the wrong reasons, but it really doesn't do much. The north side of Richmond is full of vacant clubs. Many of the club owners are not great businessmen - there's a high turnover in this industry, as installing a bar, hiring some tenders and bouncers, putting in a sound system and turning down the lights to mask the poor design (just have disco bars and some flashing coloured lights), takes little capital.

Actually, I'd have to disagree with a lot of this.

The club crowd does bring a lot of business to the area - a lot of people go for dinner on Queen or in Chinatown, etc. before heading down to a club. After they leave the club, a lot of people head to Chinatown for a bite to eat, where a lot of the owners are smart enough to keep their restaurants open to cater to the large group of people leaving clubs. The crowds who take advantage of these many open restaurants in Chinatown are huge - a number of them are as full as they are during the dinner rush. I've often thought that some other establishments (McDonald's and street vendors aside) would be wise to stay open to cater to the late night crowd, many of whom are looking for a bite.

As for design, it's like any other industry - you'll have some clubs with nice decor, some that are so-so, and some that aren't so great. You'll have some clubs with a strict dress code, others that are more lax, and then some others that will let people wear pretty much anything (the old Limelight, or Slimelight as it was often called, comes to mind).

Turnover? That's the norm in the club industry. You'll have a group of successful long running clubs, others that go through a few iterations before finding a successful formula, and others that change names on a fairly regular basis just to stay fresh. The club industry is extremely competitive and the last thing you want is for you club/brand to become stale. A lot of owners will change their name and look every once in a while just to stay on the radar, keep up with the latest trends, etc. It may seem like the owners aren't very good businessmen, but they're actually very good businessmen (that's not to say there aren't bad ones; like any industry, there are quite a few).

A good example is the aforementioned Limelight (now Afterlife). Before they changed their name/theme/look they really had no standards, which made it popular despite the crappy interior; you didnt' have to worry about a dress code, you could just go in and have a good time. They eventually changed their name to Afterlife, upgraded the interior, etc. and are now more popular than ever.

I would say the club industry and this district are actually quite a boon to the economy - and even more establishments could benefit if they had the foresight to cater to a large group with limited options once the doors close.
 
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...
I had to chuckle at this. Trust me, there's no connection between Toronto's ascension in world classiness -- damn I said it -- and our thoroughly amateurish clubland scene. Not a single of those clubs is considered significant musically, creatively or is even known to people who genuine make "clubbbing" a way of life. Pick up a Mixmag or an Urb magazine and see how often anything in Toronto's clubland is ever mentioned. You won't find it!

Not to say there isn't a tonne of exciting stuff happening in this city because Toronto's hard to beat musically, but none of it happens in clubland.

Most "exciting cities" party scenes aren't about a big club district somewhere near downtown over-run with suburbinites. It's waaay more subtle and refined. It's about the little spaces spread throughout the city. The bar that holds 50 people down that little alley that DJ Shadow spun at last week. That old warehouse near the meatpacking district that Carl Craig was reported to have played last week, etc.
 
Trust me, there's no connection between Toronto's ascension in world classiness -- damn I said it -- and our thoroughly amateurish clubland scene. Not a single of those clubs is considered significant musically, creatively or is even known to people who genuine make "clubbbing" a way of life.

I know zilch about clubbing, and don't doubt for an instant that this is completely true, but it's beside the point. I've heard it said countless times by many both in TO and from elsewhere that large numbers of people come from far and wide to whoop it up in TO's district. Apparently it's quite common to hear visitors claim that they've not seen a concentration of clubs that large anywhere else on the continent. It may be Disney World to a 'real' clubber's Burning Man, but it's still a major draw for the city, from what I can make out, regardless of quality.
 
what would happen to those clubs if you took away all the parking lots around the area?
 
I hope clubland never changes... better that all of those suburbanites are contained in one place downtown, and not dispersed throughout the core!
 
they killed Electric ave about 5 years ago here in Calgary, and the club scene has'nt really recovered, unless of course you like to go to Cowboys, there are only like 5 major clubs in Calgary now.
 
I hope clubland never changes... better that all of those suburbanites are contained in one place downtown, and not dispersed throughout the core!

Ya think? I think it's the concentration that's the problem, not the number of clubs themselves. Obviously there's synergy between the clubs that's benefitting them. Unfortunately, the unpleasant aspects of the area are also benefit from said synergy.
 

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