Canada: Toronto’s beloved Matador sold to condo developers: ‘It feels like losing a family member’ - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaToronto’s beloved Matador sold to condo developers: ‘It feels like losing a family member’

10:25  13 may  2019
10:25  13 may  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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Toronto’s beloved Matador sold to condo developers: ‘It feels like losing a family member’© Cole Burston The Matador, which is 103 years old, has been home to performances by Johnny Cash, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen.

Toronto’s historical Matador ballroom in Little Italy is officially closing following years of failed revamps, reopenings and attempts to get city permits.

The building, at College St. and Dovercourt Rd., was sold earlier in May, owner Paul McCaughey confirmed to the Star late Sunday. The property is now owned by TAS DesignBuild, a real estate company that specializes in condo development.

The Matador, which is 103 years old, has been home to performances by Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Stompin’ Tom Connors and Leonard Cohen.

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In September 2018, McCaughey got a zoning certificate from the city, which allowed the space to operate as a place of assembly, eating establishment and custom workshop, after nine years of efforts to legally reopen the space.

McCaughey finally considered selling the Matador after failing to find the “right partners” to convert the space into a restaurant and wine bar, as he’d planned.

“At this point, I’m just relieved I finally get to close this chapter of my life,” McCaughey told the Star. “There’s no doubt in my mind that if we had not had the difficulties in the process of our many applications to the city, the Matador would be open today.”

“The process took far too long.”

Toronto’s beloved Matador sold to condo developers: ‘It feels like losing a family member’© Cole Burston The Matador ballroom, located at College St. and Dovercourt Rd., was sold earlier in May, owner Paul McCaughey confirmed to the Star late Sunday. The property is now owned by TAS DesignBuild, a real estate company that specializes in condo development

Andrew Munger, a documentary film producer who has lived near the Matador for 25 years, said he’s disappointed about losing a part of Toronto’s cultural fabric, which he said “represents the music era in Toronto.”

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Munger spent days in the Matador a couple years ago shooting part of a documentary, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, produced by Martin Scorsese. The film will be released in theatres this fall.

“The city does have tools,” Munger said, noting the Matador could have been designated as a heritage site. “It has historical foundation beyond the more recent history of the matador as a night club . . . I think the city takes it for granted.”

Erella Ganon, who organized a petition to save the Matador, said the closure “feels like losing a family member.”

“The iPhone generation will never get it,” she said. “The Matador meant so much to so many people. It has a real history, much more than being just a night club — with so many people walking through and signing their names.”

“For any city to have a rich history, you need music venues like the Matador to exist and the city just didn’t get that.”

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In a statement to the Star, spokesperson Don Peat said “Mayor Tory is committed to helping the music sector in Toronto continue to be vibrant and strong.”

The city’s Music office did not immediately respond to the Star’s request for comment.

McCaughey said there’s “a crisis” occurring in Toronto’s music scene.

“I don’t believe the city of Toronto is conducive to investment in music venues and I think we have a crisis — no matter what the city is saying — in reproach to supporting music venues,” he said.

McCaughey said he now wants to spend his time working on poetry.

“The Matador really taught me that — to follow my passion, it was my Ninth Symphony and my life’s joy, and I’m very pleased to have done what I could to save it.”

With files from Sherina Harris

Temur Durrani is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star's radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @temurdur

Toronto’s beloved Matador sold to condo developers: ‘It feels like losing a family member’© Cole Burston The Matador, which is 103 years old, has been home to performances by Johnny Cash, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen.

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