Electronic music in Toronto found a new home when Charles Kabouth bought the massive 60,000 square foot space that housed RPM nightclub in 1996. He built 5 rooms under 1 roof to compete with the entertainment district—the most densely populated club area in North America. The Guvernment would act as the name of the multi-room club as well as the main room itself. The Orange Room, Acid Lounge, The Drink and the roof top patio Sky Bar all boasted their own DJs and catered to completely different crowds. The Warehouse, a concert venue that occasionally hosted DJs, would make up the rest of the venue.

One half of duo "Above and Beyond" performs at The Guvernment, image by Shayaphotography

The main room would eventually put The Guvernment and Toronto on the map when it came to electronic music. The biggest laser in Canada, a custom built Phazon sound system by New York’s Steve Dash, and of course Mark Oliver’s 9 hour extended vinyl sessions is what kept punters dancing till sunrise every "Spin Saturday". As the city cracked down on illegal warehouse raves, promoters found The Warehouse to be a perfect legal venue to move to while still keeping the underground feel to their parties.

5 years in, international DJs started to take note and made a point of performing at the club whenever possible. Carl Cox, Sasha, Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Marco Carola and Steve Lawler were just some of the names that would drop in to play sets for the Toronto crowd. The Guvernment became a staple in Canadian clubs and was the largest night club in North American for many years with a total capacity of 10,000 people on long weekends. Kool Haus would serve as one of the city’s favourite mid-size concert venues hosting names such as The Rolling Stones, Prince, Bob Dylan and countless others.

A packed Sky Bar for Steve Lawler's sunrise set on Canada Day in 2007, image by Jason Yee of TranceAddict

Deko-ze and Jelo make the dance floor go wild in The Gallery, image by Sasha Niveole of PurpleTree

Over the years, the industrial waterfront slowly developed into an area with a school, offices, a beach and now condos. The Daniels Corporation would successfully buy the land for a mixed-use multi-building development. And so, after over 18 years, Charles and Mark Oliver, his resident DJ since year 1, would play the final tracks after Canadian superstar Deadmau5’s headlining set.

The Guvernment's final night - Jan 25th, 2015. Manzone & Stong, deadmau5 and 18 year resident Mark Oliver play the final sets.

In the days after it's closure a few of The Guvernment's letters are missing, image by kotsy

This brings us to the 3 month long demolition of the massive Guvernment/Kool Haus complex. Keys were acquired by The Daniels Corporation on February 2nd and Pro Green Demolition didn’t waste any time stripping away the interior finishes before punching out most of the Kool Haus entrance way. The wooden patio off the main room on the south/east corner didn’t last long. Inside, a metal staircase is all that remains of the Ink Entertainment offices.

Demolition begins with the entrance to Kool Haus, image by kotsy

It was only a couple days before excavators tore past the office area into The Guvernment’s main entrance way. Darkened areas on the white bricks spell out “GUVERNMEN”, which is cut off diagonally.

Demolition proceeds down the east wall of The Guvernment, image by kotsy

As work progresses, piles of metal, steel, cable, concrete, and bricks form in the former staff parking lot as they are readied to be taken away for recycling.

Deep into demolition at The Guvernment's main entrance, image by kotsy

A week later, all that is left of the massive Guvernment main room is the stage, 2nd floor balcony with sound booth, the south bar, and a half broken staircase.

Demolition of The Guvernment's main room, image by kotsy

Stage/DJ/Sound Tech area of The Guvernment main room during demolition, image by kotsy

View from behind former hydrolic DJ booth, image by kotsy

Demolition at southern tip Chroma looking towards The Gallery hallway, image by kotsy

Former site of entrance hallway in Kool Haus, image by kotsy

Demolition inside Kool Haus, image by kotsy

After taking down the rest of the east wall with an excavator, work crews would start to remove the south wall brick-by-brick to prevent any accidents on the sidewalk below. This process would carry on for the entire south and west walls of the building.

South wall of The Guvernment being taken down brick by brick, image by kotsy

After Chroma is completely gutted, part of its original look of The Orange Room is revealed. Likewise, a stripped-out Kool Haus is reminiscent of its original identity in the 90s—The Warehouse.

Demolition inside Kool Haus, image by kotsy

Demolition of Kool Haus, image by kotsy

Looking from southern tip of The Guvernment main room during Demolition, image by kotsy

Demolition in Kool Haus, image by kotsy

A couple weeks pass by and all that’s left is the southwest corner of the complex that housed The Gallery (formerly Charlie’s) on the ground floor, Surface (formerly Cathouse, formerly The Drink) on the 2nd floor, and of course Sky Bar tops it all off on the roof. 

Demolition continues on what's left of the The Gallery, Surface and Sky Bar, image by kotsy

2nd last standing piece of the entire complex - The Gallery, Surface & Sky Bar, image by kotsy

The south side of the south stairwell shows a graffiti tag that reads “RIP Guv”. Only fitting that this tag would survive almost to the very end of the demolition process.

Workers remove Sky Bar railing in front of "RIP Guv" graffiti tag during demolition, image by kotsy

It would be the support structure on top of a middle of Kool Haus that lasted until the bitter end.

Watch a video of two excavators pulling this last piece to the ground.

A section of Kool Haus with steel support structure is the final standing piece of The entire complex, image by kotsy

As the remaining rubble is taken away, prep work for Daniels Waterfront: City of the Arts begins.

Nothing left standing at The Guvernment/Kool Haus, image by kotsy

Nothing left standing at The Guvernment/Kool Haus, image by kotsy

Nothing left standing at The Guvernment/Kool Haus, image by kotsy

Due to the proximity to the lakefront, digging out the perimeter of site that will be padded with a low grade concrete instead of traditional wooden slabs. This will prevent lake water from seeping into the work site while they build the foundation and 4-storey underground parking garage.

Work crews preparing to dig a perimeter that will be filled with concrete, image by kotsy

In the fall, the warehouse/office building located north of Guv will be demolished to make way for the 2nd half of the project where the two condo towers are planned to reach 48 and 36 storeys high.

Daniels Waterfront - City of the Arts, image courtesy of Daniels Corporation

Click here to view the entire demolition photo gallery

Click here to view an archive of videos taken at The Guvernment & Kool Haus

Want to reminisce about The Guvernment? We'd love to hear your stories in the space provided below. Want to know more about the Daniels Waterfront: City of the Arts project? Click on our dataBase link below or the associated Forum thread links.

Related Companies:  Cecconi Simone, City Life Realty Ltd., Claude Cormier + Associés, COUNTERPOINT ENGINEERING, Cushman & Wakefield, Giannone Petricone Associates, HOK, Isotherm Engineering Ltd., Kramer Design Associates Limited, Live Patrol Inc., NAK Design Strategies, Rafael + Bigauskas Architects, RAW Design, The Daniels Corporation