Canada: Edward Keenan: Wayne Gretzky’s is a link to the Entertainment District’s glory days - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaEdward Keenan: Wayne Gretzky’s is a link to the Entertainment District’s glory days

15:15  21 july  2019
15:15  21 july  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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Wayne Douglas Gretzky CC (/ˈɡrɛtski/; born January 26, 1961) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and former head coach.

Wayne Gretzky : Off the Ice. At age nine, Wayne Gretzky was a youth hockey phenomenon in Gretzky throws a check, something rarely seen in his professional days , during a game of street Gretzky ' s trade from the Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in August 1988 was a landmark event for

Edward Keenan: Wayne Gretzky’s is a link to the Entertainment District’s glory days© Richard Lautens The closing of hockey hero Wayne Gretzky’s sports bar will bring us even closer to the end of Toronto’s Entertainment District, Edward Keenan writes.

(Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.)

Cards on the table here: I don’t have a bank of fond memories of Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant. The place opened in 1993, the same year the greatest hockey player who ever lived, my childhood hero, high-sticked Doug Gilmour and then scored a goal to end the Leafs’ greatest run of my lifetime, and then didn’t even have the decency to go win the Stanley Cup afterwards. I was bitter about it then and I’m bitter about it now and maybe it poisoned me on Gretzky and his memorabilia-filled sports bar. I’ve been a few times. It was fine, I guess.

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It was a chip that Wayne Gretzky would wear on his shoulder long after others had forgotten it, so Had Gretzky been playing in a media center like New York then, who knows where the NHL would be today? Sports Illustrated may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this

Wayne Gretzky at the age of 17 was benched by Edmonton Oilers coach Glen Sather when they played Cincinnati back on December 13, 1978. The coach had told Gretzky to stay back, but Gretzky was spending more trying to score and set up goals. The coach saw this as a key moment in

But when it was announced this week that it will be closing next year to make way for condo construction — along with the Second City theatre and improv school that shares its building — a friend and colleague pointed out that it has been among the last holdouts of a time I can still get misty about. Gather ’round, children, and I’ll tell you about the days when the neighbourhood we call the Entertainment District still had entertainment in it. It’s an era that’s mostly gone — the big movie theatre on Richmond is scheduled to close, too — and I’ll be darned if I have to wait until Hooters turns out the lights to mark the occasion.

Before, it was Clubland.

Well, even before that, it was an industrial district. In between, it could seem to this city that it was nothing at all. You had the Queen West strip, which has been the Queen West strip for a long, long time (gentrifying and losing beloved bars every decade), and the theatre strip along King near Simcoe, but in between, in the blocks along Richmond and Adelaide and Wellington between University and Spadina, a wanderer in the 1980s and early 1990s found big abandoned warehouses between some single-family homes.

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Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp. For 7 days every spring, diehard hockey fans from around the world gather in Las Vegas for the chance to play with a collection of NHL legends. It’ s called the Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp, and it’ s just as awesome as it sounds.

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How deserted did it feel right next to the Financial District and the rest of downtown? Well, as I’ve written before, in 1993, an enterprising heritage architect could buy the four-storey, block-sized, 200,000-square-foot warehouse building at 401 Richmond near Peter for $1.5 million. Margie Zeidler did, and still runs that building as a home for artists and arts organizations today. She paid $7.50 per square foot, which might not pay a month’s rent on a building like that today. The average sale price of office space across all of Toronto last year, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, was $338.74 per square foot. Even after you check your inflation calculator, you’ll conclude space in the area back then was all but being given away.

Big empty spaces for very little money with few neighbours was a recipe for successful nightclubs, which began to spread and multiply through the area in the early 1990s. Catch-22 and Limelight on Adelaide, Club Max on Peter, Go Go and Twilight Zone on Richmond. They continued multiplying through the millennium, with every era having its own landmark clubs: Joker, Whiskey Saigon, System Soundbar, Circa. If you were around, you’ll remember your favourites; if you weren’t, the names will mean nothing to you anyway. But if you want to read about the scene and its evolution and characters, the music journalist and DJ Denise Benson has a dynamite book and website, both called Then & Now, with detailed histories of bygone nightclubs.

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Prince Edward Island. Wayne Gretzky is seen hoisting the Stanley Cup the first time that he won a championship while playing with the Edmonton Oilers. CBC talks to people in Wayne Gretzky ' s hometown of Brantford, Ont., about his move to the L.A. Kings.

Edward George Villiers Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, KG, GCB, GCVO, TD, PC, JP (4 April 1865 – 4 February 1948), styled Mr Edward Stanley until 1886

As far as I can tell, they are all gone now. There are still some pubs and restaurants, but nothing like the blocks-wide carnival of loud music and masses of drinking, gyrating celebration that used to be there every night. By the early 2000s, it was considered a problem, since so many people from all over the city came down and got hammered and then spilled out into the streets after last call (and before it). Today, you can still see the police box and camera pole on Richmond near Peter that was installed to monitor the unmanageable hammered nighttime population of those days.

The clubs and the crowds (and the still low-ish rents that made them possible) drew other bars and restaurants, and the proximity to partying and the SkyDome and the rest of downtown made it a natural home for other entertainment venues like Second City and Yuk Yuk’s (still there!) and Wayne Gretzky’s. And eventually the condos and residents who come with them.

And now what’s there is mostly those condos and offices where the people who live in them work, and businesses (pubs and restaurants but also grocery stores and a Marshalls) that serve them. It’s a different world there now. The partiers have moved west on King. The bohemians moved west and then further west on Queen. Outside of TIFF and the live theatres on that old strip of King St., there’s not a lot of destination entertainment stuff left in the neighbourhood. Maybe it’s more of a proper neighbourhood now that it’s less of a sectioned-off party zone. It seems like a place today where people live and lots of people work. That’s probably a natural and healthy evolution.

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For more of Wayne Gretzky ' s 100 Greatest Players bio, please click here. Every superlative has been used, many strung together, to describe the otherwordly He owns many records from the ranks of peewee hockey to the NHL, sitting atop every meaningful offensive category, often miles ahead of the

Wayne Gretzky further explains that you do not have to pick up the puck and dodge the opponents to be a good player. 18+. Tips are provided for entertainment purposes and if you gamble please gamble recreationally. To read more about gambling and gambling awareness visit GambleAware.org.

But I’m not sure where in the city, if anywhere, has that sense of frontier energy and possibility and excitement that the early club district offered Toronto’s young people back when it seemed abandoned and overlooked by most of the city.

Wayne Gretzky’s wasn’t really part of that scene, although Second City maybe kind-of was. The sports bar’s location was more about proximity to the home of the Blue Jays (and eventually the homes of the Raptors and Leafs). But cheers to its memory anyhow: it was there back then, when it was all still developing and evolving, and it was one of the entertainment options that gave the district its name, back when it still lived up to it.

Edward Keenan is a columnist based in Toronto covering urban affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @thekeenanwire

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