Sex doll brothel not going ahead in North York plaza, councillor says

A sex doll "brothel" that planned to open in a North York shopping plaza in early September will no longer be proceeding with its business at that site, says a Toronto city councillor.

Property owner has cancelled the lease for Aura Dolls, which offers services with 'silicone ladies'

Aura Dolls was set to open in September but Toronto councillor John Filion says the property owner of the shopping plaza where it was to be located has cancelled the lease. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

A sex doll "brothel" that planned to open in a North York shopping plaza in early September will no longer be proceeding with its business at that site, says a Toronto city councillor.

Coun. John Filion, who represents Ward 23, Willowdale, says the property owner at 4632 Yonge St. has cancelled the lease for Aura Dolls, after city staff contacted the owner. Aura Dolls was slated to open on Sept. 8.

"The business will not be opening. The lease got cancelled by the landlord," Filion said on Friday. "It was a problem and now it's no longer a problem. In the course of a week, I have a long list of problems, and this is one that got checked off as being solved."

Tracey Cook, executive director for municipal licensing and standards at the city, told CBC Toronto that city staff investigated the premises for possible contraventions of zoning and licensing bylaws, but the city subsequently learned from the property manager that the lease agreement with Aura Dolls had been terminated.

The Yonge Street address, which is south of Sheppard Avenue, is no longer listed on the website for Aura Dolls. Instead, its website says its address is North York *Announced upon booking.*

According to its website, Aura Dolls offers customers six silicone 'exotic girls to cater to everyone's choice of beauty.' (Lukas Schulze/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Filion said Aura Dolls never moved into the location. Its website says it offers "services with the world's most beautiful silicone ladies." 

The company had planned to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and to offer customers six different silicone dolls. The website describes the life-like dolls as, "classy, sophisticated, and adventurous ladies." Hourly rates range from $80 to nearly $500.

'Uproar in the community'

The councillor said he received dozens of calls and emails, starting last Monday, in opposition to the planned opening of the brothel. He said the company put up posters on poles in the Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue area to advertise its business.

"There was a lot of uproar in the community. I investigated the situation and contacted city staff and we determined that would not be legal use there. City staff contacted the business owner and the property owner and the lease was cancelled," he said.

Filion said community residents considered the proposed business "totally inappropriate" because it would have been located in the heart of a community near an intersection where 25,000 people live and within walking distance of four elementary schools.

Residents considered it not a desirable business for their neighbourhood, he said.

"It's probably inappropriate for any neighbourhood. It's very dehumanizing. It literally objectifies women and I'm not sure what value it adds to any neighbourhood."

Aura Dolls was slated to open at 4632 Yonge St., shown here. (Google Maps)

He said the cancellation of the lease means the city no longer has to take legal action against the business, which would have required a lot of time and effort, he said.

"This is a much simpler solution," he said. "I blame the landlord as much as anybody."

In the same plaza, there is a pot dispensary and a massage parlour.

If the business had opened, Filion said it would have been in violation of a zoning bylaw because it would have fit the definition of an adult entertainment parlour.

A licence is needed to operate such a business, he added, and it would not have received one from the city because the use of the building for that purpose in the neighbourhood would not have been permitted.

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story reported that the shopping plaza is owned by Suncor Energy. In fact, Suncor Energy owns 4630 Yonge St., not 4632 Yonge St.
    Sep 04, 2018 1:29 PM ET