RIP to the Entertainment District, I Miss You
I was walking through Liberty Village yesterday on my way to the Eaton Center and all I could think about was ‘holy shit this is a lot of condos!’ I feel like all of us downtown dwellers think about this regularly. It probably also extends to those who live outside of Toronto, those who once upon a time enjoyed the fruitful spoils of the Entertainment District in downtown Toronto.
When I was younger my friends and I would drive from Hamilton to Toronto on any given Friday or Saturday (even Sundays) to find a good party in the Entertainment District. You wouldn’t even need to have a specific club in mind because one stroll up Richmond St. would lead to encounters with dozens of promoters trying to get you into THEIR club.
This definitely is no longer the case. I can’t even tell you the last time someone spoke to me on Richmond St. A while ago I read this piece that was in Toronto Life discussing the ten signs of the death of the Entertainment District. Not only is that area dead, it’s basically in the Good Place with Kristin Bell trying to decided how the hell it got there. Yes, the answer is gentrification. Sure is.
I miss dancing. I miss dance clubs. I especially miss Fluid and Kool Haus. I understand that Kool Haus isn’t even in the Entertainment District, but I had to shout it out real quick. The amount of amazing fetes I went to there and in the entire Guvernment Complex are epic EPIC memories in my mind.
Maybe I am showing my age? Perhaps the younger people enjoy the stuck-up King West bars where people spend more time on Snapchat than dancing. Where a bottle costs 1/3 of your monthly rent (if you live outside Toronto, of course). This really didn’t use to be my reality. During my clubbing times I was in the musical epicenter of Gully v Gaza clashes and you wouldn’t step into ONE downtown nightclub without hearing some remnants of that. Remember when dancehall use to play downtown? HA. I mean gunman chunes, not One Dance. This is not a drag of Drake, I like him and his music, but which song are we truly throwing a gun finger to for him? OK.
If you walk by now all you hear is fuckboy music lite playing everywhere. Again, not a slight against the actual artists, but everyone from Toronto knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s that Weeknd-PND-Whoeverthehellispopularrightnow type mix. The Bay Street millennials who can afford the bottle but can’t keep beat. The guys commuting in from Woodbridge who absolutely cannot wait to jump on a couch at a club in their spikey kicks, because you damn well know their mom not allowing that shit at home. The girls who not there to dance, they’re just there to screwface but smile and turn up the second a camera is on them to prove to their IG fans how FUN and not cunty they are.
I miss Circa. I miss Fluid. I miss Seven. Shit I’ll even go as far to say I miss Frequency and Wetbar, minus the violence at the former. At least people in those clubs danced, felt free, the music was amazing and if you had bottle service no one even gave a shit because you still were dancing.
Everywhere I use to party is basically a pinch condo now. How do you bring in MORE young people to downtown but make partying less available? To go to a decent party now would require a minimum of a $30 Uber ride one way. As people came in from the suburbs, the clubs went out there. What a damn shame.
SOOOO far gone are the amazing Sunday nights you would listen to Spexx and/or Dr. Jay while you’re driving into Toronto that would get you hype as shit for the night you were about to have. Those were some of the most fun times in my life.
I’m happy we still have boat rides downtown, but obviously that is very limited to only summertime in Toronto which literally lasts a second here.
It’s crazy I was a bouncer for five years in this city and just watched it burn to shit right in front of me. Less and less dancing, more and more posing, and yes, condos. There’s a genuine sadness about it because I feel like although I am lucky enough to have experienced it, the missing of it sucks pretty bad. It’s one of those, ‘is it better to have clubbed and lost, or to have never clubbed at all?’
I am sad. RIP to the Entertainment District.