Toronto council committee wants to study the appointment of a nightlife czar

The city's economic development committee on Tuesday voted to have city staff look into the creation of a Night Mayor Ambassador Program to grow the city's nightlife and to keep the peace between residents and nightspots.

Job would involve smoothing relations between nightclubs and their neighbours

Coun. Paul Ainslie says the goal of his night mayor proposal is to bring more money into the local economy. (CBC)

Move over, John Tory, Toronto may soon be getting a second mayor. The "night mayor" would keep the peace between nightclubs and the families who live near them.

The city's economic development committee on Tuesday voted to have city staff look into the creation of a Night Mayor Ambassador Program.

According to a letter from Coun. Paul Ainslie, who proposed the idea, the night mayor's job would be to boost the number of entertainment venues as a way of attracting more tourists to the city, and injecting more money into the local economy.

"The City of Toronto has a vibrant nightlife. Introducing a system to help positively cultivate it will benefit the entire community," Ainslie wrote in a letter to the committee.

But he also admitted that a big part of the night mayor's job would be to smooth relations between local residents and night spots, which have been rocky in the past, particularly in the Entertainment District.

Night mayor 'could be a nightmare'

As more families have moved into the district's condominiums, ratepayers have lobbied local politicians, often successfully, to control the proliferation of nightclubs, citing excessive noise, fights and other unruly behaviour by club-goers partying late into the night.

Bruce McKay, who represents the King-Spadina Residents Association, said that in 2007 there were 66 nightclubs in the district east of Spadina. Today there are just 10, he said.

McKay is worried that a night mayor ambassador program "could be a nightmare."

He's concerned  the new post could lack the teeth to keep club owners — and their noise levels — under control.

"They just turn up the bass level and nothing stops that sound from entering your condo." 

No one has calculated exactly how much money is pumped into Toronto's economy by music venues and festivals, said city spokesman Shane Gerard.

But the NXNE festival alone generates about $50 million a year, according to the city's website.

Nightclubs worth millions to local economies

Ainslie quoted a report by the City of London, England, which is about to appoint its own night mayor. That report states that night-time entertainment injects about $100 billion into the local economy every year.

But it also notes that "between 2007 and 2015, London lost 35 per cent of its 'grassroots' music venues, falling from 136 to 88," Ainslie wrote.

"What people don't understand is we aren't against economic development, of properly managed, and responsible, owners and businesses," McKay said. "What we're against is the behaviour where they just blast (music) into the night." 

The economic development committee agreed Tuesday to ask staff to set up the groundwork for a Night Mayor Ambassador Program, then report back to the committee.