New concert venue planned for the Beach a needed addition to Toronto's music scene, councillor says
Published Wednesday, June 9, 2021 11:40AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 9, 2021 11:45AM EDT
A new 2,500-person capacity concert venue is coming to the Beach and the city councillor for the area says that he expects it to be a “world class” facility that will help to fill some gaps created by the recent closure of dozens of performance venues in Toronto.
The Live Nation venue, which is being launched in partnership with rapper Drake, will be called History Toronto and will be located in the former home of an off track betting facility and movie theatre at 1663 Queen Street East.
It will feature a convertible general admission area and reserved seating configurations and will host upwards of 200 events each year, according to Live Nation.
“Typically we hear about music venues that are closing and there's lots of development pressures and reasons for why that happens but we need to find ways to protect these cultural venues in our city,” Ward 19 Councillor and chair of the Toronto Music Alliance Brad Bradford told CP24 on Wednesday. “This new venue is a mid-size venue that we really don’t see a lot of in our city. You know there are acts and tours that can sell out Scotiabank Arena or Budweiser Stage but venues for like 2,500 people, it is really important for artist development and touring acts to be able to have those and we just don’t have a lot of them in Toronto.”
The announcement of the new venue comes as Ontario begins to lift some public health restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
It is unclear when the venue will open, though it appears that its first booked concert will take place on Oct. 22 with a performance by the rock band All Time Low.
Speaking with CP24, Bradford said that the return of live music in general is something to “get excited about” and the addition of a major venue to Toronto’s music scene will only help with the city city’s economic recovery.
“When Drake attaches his name to a project you know it's going to be world class and Live Nation of course is a fantastic organization and you can see with the construction behind you, the materiality, the investment that's going into this place it is going to be a world class venue,” he said. “The experience that people are going to have when they are inside, the way that they're going to be able to be immersed in the shows, enjoying the music and the performances by the artists, it's going to be something very special.”
Toronto has lost a number of prominent music venues in recent years, including the Mod Club in Little Italy and Hugh’s Room in the Junction.