Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

“Toronto Life” on Clubland

Cover of the “Clubland” issue of Toronto LifeFrom 1999 to 2005, I lived on Sullivan Street, a five-minute walk from Accordion City’s Entertainment District — a.k.a. Clubland. Although my friends and I preferred to do our clubbing at the alt-rock clubs farther west on Queen Street (Velvet Underground, Zoo Bar/Zen Lounge/Funhaus, Bovine Sex Club, Savage Garden and the first place I’d ever played accordion in front of a large crowd, Sanctuary Vampire Sex Bar), I’d sometime catch up with friends at the various hot spots in Clubland. I busked in Clubland now and again, which landed me some very interesting accordion gigs at club such as This is London and hanging with my accordion from the ceiling at Money.

That’s why I’ll be reading the current issue of Toronto Life magazine with some interest. The cover story — titled Party Monsters — covers Clubland and poses the question: “The kids are hammered. The cops are overwhelmed. The condo owners have had it. Are we having fun yet?”

I believe that as long as the clubs have taken reasonable measures to keep the noise inside the clubs, condo residents who’ve been lured by the marketing to “live where the action is” should probably have to learn to cope with living in a nightlife area as long as their safety is not threatened.

I think that the neighbourhood’s real problem isn’t the noise, but the increasing thuggery. A friend of mine quit her job at a club because too many patrons were flashing firearms. As Clubland attracted more people, more fights began to break out; I myself have had to stop a handful of fights while busking (there’s a dent in one of my accordions that came from some fool who tried to punch it — his hand got the worse part of that deal). Among the bar staff in the area, the term “nine-oh-five” — that’s the area code for Toronto’s suburbs, where most of the troublemakers seem to come from — became a synonym for “asshole”. There’s something about crowd density, hormones, alcohol and “Hey, it’s not my neighbourhood” mixed together that can bring out the worst in some people.

I’ve only read about the article on the Spacing blog and will read it later tonight. It should be interesting, coming from the perspective of a Toronto Life reporter. To give you a hint of its intended audience, a random selection of their advertisers includes Trimark Mutual Funds, stone-tile, Maus Park Antiques and the ClubLink golf club network.

5 replies on ““Toronto Life” on Clubland”

Denisse, the writer, writes for Eye, so her head is likely in tune with downtown than the golf course (though I don’t want to assume what’s in her head). Actually, I’m often impressed with some of the long articles Toronto Life puts out and gets their readership to read. Toronto (the city) impresses me often like this.

I grew up in a midtown area then moved to the suburbs around high school age, and for a lot of the suburban kids, the urban nightclub zones were either “too dangerous” or a place you went to cut loose, which usually involved underage drinking and getting into fights.

Which I guess is my 2 cents way of saying that a reputation like that can snowball. The timid but hip kids stay away, and the thugs see it as a place to do their thuggy thing.

@Shawn Micallef: It should be interesting to see what the article is like, what with Denisse’s writing through Toronto Life’s editorial lens. As you say, Toronto Life does balance its golf club sensibilities with its love for living in the big city.

Joey> Yes, that’s it. I think similar middle/upper middle class magazines are much more suburban (in other cities, esp american ones), and fear the city. I think they follow the New York mag model better. Love of big city things, rather than fear.


I don’t know if the tone of Toronto life can be called ‘Love of big city things, rather than fear’. The article is called ‘Party Monsters’ after all.

But I haven’t read this particular article so I can’t comment. (Although i have really liked a lot of her earlier stuff)

I have always felt the tone of Toronto Life was Narrow Urban at best. I never felt represented in it, although I think that most Rosedale/F-Hill residents see themselves represented there.

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