Toronto Entertainment District

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Toronto Entertainment District

The Toronto Entertainment District is an area in Downtown Toronto, which consists of eight city blocks that houses every type of entertainment you can think of. It is concentrated around King Street West between University Avenue and Spadina Avenue. It is home to theatres and performing arts centres, Toronto’s four major-league sports teams, and an array of cultural and family attractions. The Entertainment District boasts a host of dining choices from pubs and bars to upscale bistros serving everything from steak and seafood to international entrees.

The area is also home to most of the nightclubs in Toronto. Some of the city’s biggest attractions like the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre, and a myriad of shops, hotels and services are all part of the District. The officially designated district does not include Yonge Street, where the Elgin/Wintergarden Theatres, Ed Mirvish Theatre, Panasonic Theatre and Massey Hall are. Nor does it include the St. Lawrence Centre or the Sony centre.

History

In the first half of the 20th century the area original name of the neighbourhood was the Garment District and was almost wholly industrial. The railways controlled a huge amount of land along the waterfront, and to the north many firms took advantage of the easy access to rail and the harbour. The most important industry was textiles and fashion, and the area had few residents.

With the rise of free trade and deindustrialization, the industries began to leave the area in the 1970s. They left behind an array of historic warehouses and factories that began to be converted to other uses. The most notable arrival to the area was nightclubs. In 1981 the Twilight Zone, Toronto’s first large dance club, opened in the area. Other clubs soon followed and by the 1990s, the area became home to one of the largest concentrations of night clubs in North America.

The railway lands to the south were also converted to other uses. The SkyDome opened in 1989, bringing thousands of sports fans to the area. The CN Tower, which opened in 1976, also brought many tourists to the neighbourhood. Along with the nightclubs many bars and restaurants opened to serve these crowds. In 1982 Roy Thomson Hall, home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, opened at King and Simcoe.

The Mirvish family had bought the historic Royal Alexandra Theatre in 1962. It proved a considerable success and in 1993 they built the new 2000 seat Princess of Wales Theatre a block over. Independent theatre also moved into the area with the Theatre Passe Muraille taking over a former warehouse and the Factory Theatre in a former manse. Toronto has emerged as the world’s third-largest centre for English-language theatre, behind only London (West End theatre) and New York (Broadway theatre).”

The Toronto condo boom of the early 21st century began to transform the area in the early 2000s. The abandoned warehouses began to be transformed into lofts, or demolished to make way for condominium towers. The core of the Entertainment District had only 750 residents in 1996, but this had gone up to 7,500 by 2005. The crowds, noise, and occasional crime especially associated with the clubs caused conflict with the new homeowners.

Benefiting from economic, environmental, and social factors driving downtown growth, the present-day Entertainment District is in the midst of a renaissance, firmly establishing itself as a thriving and vibrant district for living, creating, working, and playing.

Performing Arts

  • Canadian Opera Company – 145 Queen St. W. – 416 363 6671
  • Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts – 145 Queen St. W. – 416 363 8231
  • Glenn Gould Studio – 250 Front St. W. – 416 205 5555
  • Mirvish Productions – 284 King St. W. – 416 351 1229
  • National Ballet of Canada – 470 Queens Quay W.- 416 345 9686
  • Princess of Wales Theatre – 300 King St. W.- 416 872 1212
  • Roy Thomson Hall – 60 Simcoe St. – 416 593 4822
  • Royal Alexandra  – 284 King St. W. – 416 593 0351
  • Second City Theatre – 51 Mercer St. – 416 343 0011
  • Toronto International Film Festival – 2 Carlton St. – 416 934 3242
  • Toronto Mendelssohn Choir – 60 Simcoe St. – 416 598 0422
  • Toronto Symphony Orchestra – 212 King St. W. – 416 593 7769
  • Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club – 224 Richmond St. W. – 416 967 6425

Visual Arts

  • 401 Richmond – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 595 5900
  • A Space Gallery – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 979 9633
  • Gallery 44 – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 979 3941
  • Imagine NATIVE – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 585 2333
  • OCAD’s Richmond St. – 205 Richmond St. W. – 416 977 6000
  • PREFIX Institute of Contemporary Art – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 591 0357
  • Red Head Gallery – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 504 5654
  • SAVAC – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 542 1661
  • Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 408 2754
  • V Tape – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 331 1317
  • Wynick/Tuck Gallery – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 504 8716
  • 416 504 8716 YYZ Artists’ Outlet – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 598 4546

Film

  • TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival – 350 King St. W. King St. W. – 416 968 3456
  • V Tape – 401 Richmond St. W. – 416 331 1317

Attractions

  • Air Canada Centre – 40 Bay St. – 416 815 5500
  • Canada’s Walk of Fame – 1 Yonge St. – 416 367 9255
  • Canadian Opera Company – 145 Queen St. W. – 416 363 6671
  • Clarence Square Park – 51 Spadina Avenue
  • CN Tower  – 301 Front St. W. – 416 868 6937
  • Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts – 145 Queen St. W. – 416 363 8231
  • Glenn Gould Studio – 250 Front St. W. – 416 205 5555
  • Metro Toronto Convention Centre  – 255 Front St. W. – 416 585 8120
  • National Ballet of Canada – 470 Queens Quay W. – 416 345 9686
  • Princess of Wales – 300 King St. W. – 416 872 1212
  • Rogers Centre – 1 Blue Jays Way – 416 341 3000
  • Roundhouse Park – 222 Bremner Boulevard
  • Roy Thomson Hall – 60 Simcoe St. – 416 593 4822
  • Royal Alexandra  – 284 King St. W. – 416 593 0351
  • Scotiabank Theatre – 259 Richmond St. W. – 416 368 5600
  • Second City Theatre – 51 Mercer St. – 416 343 0011
  • Simcoe Place Park – 200 Front St. W.
  • Steam Whistle Brewery  – 255 Bremner Boulevard – 416 362 2337
  • Toronto Argonauts – 355 King St. W. – 416 322 9650
  • Toronto Blue Jays  – 1 Blue Jays Way – 416 341 1255
  • Toronto Maple Leafs – 40 Bay St. – 416 815 5500
  • Toronto Railway Heritage Centre – 225 Bremner Boulevard
  • Toronto Raptors – 40 Bay St. – 416 815 5500
  • Toronto Rock Lacrosse – 40 Bay St. – 416 815 5500

Bars & Pubs

  • Barootes Casual Dining – 220 King St. W. – 416 979 7717
  • Crocodile Rock – 240 Adelaide St. W. – 416 599 9751
  • DNA Lounge – 328 Adelaide St. W. – 416 591 8885
  • Elephant & Castle – 212 King St. W. – 416 598 4455
  • Fox & Fiddle – 106 John St. – 416 593 4407
  • Friar & Firkin – 160 John St. – 416 340 9459
  • Grace O’Malley’s – 14 Duncan St. – 416 596 1444
  • Hotel Boutique Lounge – 77 Peter St. – 416 345 8584
  • Jack Astors – 133 John St. – 416 627 4542
  • Joe Mamas Bar & Grill – 317 King St. W. – 416 340 6469
  • Lexy Lounge – 325 King St. W. – 416 599 9909
  • Libra Lounge – 391 King St. W. – 416 599 7000
  • Light Lounge – 134 Peter St. – 416 597 9547
  • Montana  – 145 John St. – 416 595 5949
  • N’awlins Jazz Bar & Grill – 299 King St. W. – 416 595 1958
  • Quotes Bar & Grill – 220 King St. W. – 416 979 7717
  • Seven Lounge – 224 Richmond St. W. – 416 599 9797
  • The London Tap House – 250 Adelaide St. W. – 416 205 1234
  • Wayne Gretzky’s Restaurant – 99 Blue Jays Way – 416 348 0099

Live Music

  • Grace O’Malley’s – 14 Duncan St. – 416 596 1444
  • Joe Mamas Bar & Grill – 317 King St. W. – 416 340 6469
  • Le Saint Tropez – 315 King St. W. – 416 591 3600
  • N’awlins Jazz Bar & Grill – 299 King St. W. – 416 595 1958
  • Quotes Bar & Grill – 220 King St. W. – 416 979 7717
  • Zazou Lounge – 315 King St. W. – 416 591 8800

Nightlife

  • Blurr Night Club – 214 Adelaide St. W. – 416 596 8400
  • BLVD Room  – 81 Peter St. – 416 581 1118
  • Cantina Charlies Nightclub – 287 Richmond St. W. – 416 340 2582
  • CiRCA – 126 John St. – 416 979 0044
  • Crocodile Rock – 240 Adelaide St. W. – 416 599 9751
  • Fluid Lounge – 217 Richmond St. W. – 416 593 6116
  • Frequency Nightclub – 296 Richmond St. W. – 416 977 8900
  • Jack Astors  – 133 John St. – 416 627 4542
  • Menage | Bistro 333 – 333 King St. W. – 416 971 3332
  • Mink – 150 Peal St. – 416 977 4446
  • Rebublik – 261 Richmond St. W. – 416 598 1632
  • Rockwood – 31 Mercer St. – 416 979 7373
  • Shmooze – 15 Mercer St. – 416 341 8777
  • The Fifth Social Club/Fifth Grill and – 225 Richmond St. W. – 416 979 3000
  • The London Tap House – 250 Adelaide St. W. – 416 205 1234
  • Tryst – 82 Peter St. – 416 588 7978
  • XS Nightclub – 261 Richmond St. W. – 416 598 1632

 

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