[UPDATE February 9th, 2017]: The city of Toronto announced that the Silver Dollar Room will receive heritage protection and although it is still closing on May 1st for redevelopment, the venue will reopen following the conclusion of construction.
And Toronto waves farewell to yet another beloved music venue.
This time it’s the Silver Dollar Room that has met an unfortunate end, capping off a brutal month for the city’s live music scene. The closing follows several other high profile shutdowns of venues such as The Hoxton, Soybomb HQ, Hugh’s Room, and others.
The Silver Dollar Room opened in 1958 and the 250 capacity venue has been popular with Toronto residents ever since. According to the Toronto Star, the venue will remain open until May 1, 2017, after which the land will be redeveloped into high density student housing.
The Silver Dollar Room hosted many famous acts throughout its history, including Bob Dylan, The Barenaked Ladies, and Blue Rodeo. But the ones who will most feel the pain of this closing will be the many local Toronto artists, as well as touring emerging artists, that the venue has supported over the years.
This recent spate of music venue closings prompted a joint statement from Toronto mayor John Tory and City Councillor Josh Colle, the chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC). In the statement, they acknowledged the unusual amount of venue closings in the past month and expressed disappointment that the venues couldn’t be saved.
They also began to take proactive steps to address the issue, starting with a TMAC meeting on February 13th, 2017 to address the issue of these closings. TMAC is expected to present its findings and potential solutions to better support local music venues to the city council following the meeting.
Tory and Colle also took the opportunity to present some steps the city has already taken to alleviate the problem, which include:
- Council has passed a motion aimed at protecting live music venues
- The City, with the help of local Councillor Joe Cressy, has taken steps to protect the Silver Dollar Room so it continues to be a music venue
- Council has asked staff to focus on helping the city’s nighttime economy
- Part of the TOCore planning study will look at how to create, maintain music spaces, including pop-up music spaces
- Ongoing discussions with venue owners about how the City can help them succeed
For the sake of the future of Toronto’s music scene, hopefully the city will be able to find a solution to these closings.
You can find out more about the Toronto Music Advisory Council here. Maybe give them a call and suggest some potential solutions?