New Beach-area concert venue could 'liven up the East End,' local councillor says
'People think it's going to be this colossal nightclub. It's not,' says Mary-Margaret McMahon
Already popular for its lively music festivals, Toronto's east-end Beach area could be home to a live performance venue, according to an application by developers that would see an off-track betting shop in the neighbourhood transformed into a concert hall.
The city is reviewing the application for a proposed performance venue, at the site of the existing Champions Greenwood off-track betting shop at Queen Street East and Kingston Road, not far from Woodbine Park.
The proposed venue that could fit some 2,700 fans and host 150 shows per year.
Entertainment giant Live Nation is among those behind proposal and that could mean some big acts coming to the city.
Turning Toronto into a music city
"We're trying to liven up the east end a little bit," Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon told CBC News.
"We all at City Hall have been trying to crusade to turn Toronto into a music city to compete with and surpass Austin, Texas, and we're very worried about empty storefronts along the Beach. It's a great way of filling them."
The application calls for renovations to 2,700 square metres of the existing teletheatre along with a new partial second floor.
"The live performance theatre will provide additional cultural space within the neighbourhood," the proposal says.
"In our opinion, the proposal will have no undue impact on the surrounding area, and is appropriate and desirable for the Site," it continues.
Many area residents agree.
"We have a lot of outdoor festivals which is great when the weather permits but you always have to go downtown to hear some live music," Margie Arnott said.
Not all residents fans
"We have lots of coffee shops, lots of bars, little boutiques. It'd be nice to find something new," said Glynis Fediuk.
But not all in the neighbourhood are fans of the idea.
"I live directly across the street. I don't know exactly what that's going to entail I know there's going to be a box office outside..are they going to be lining up? Parking is already an issue," Stephen Beckwith said.
Fernando Alfaro echoes those concerns.
"It's not so much the noise. But having the big crowds coming and going," he said.
As the proposal goes to a city hall committee next week for rezoning, McMahon is looking to allay residents' concerns.
"People think it's going to be this colossal nightclub. It's not. It's your Massey Hall, it's your Danforth Music Hall," she said.