Published Feb 08, 2017Last month, Toronto's live music scene was dealt a sizeable blow with numerous venues announcing closure plans, the most recent of which was the city's long-running Silver Dollar Room. While Toronto city council has acknowledged the closures in hopes of preserving the space, the future of the iconic venue remains unclear.
On Monday (February 6), Coun. Joe Cressy wrote a letter to the Toronto Star that said the Silver Dollar would reopen following redevelopment of the site it shares with the adjacent 117-year-old Hotel Waverly, located on the northwest corner of College Street and Spadina Avenue. The letter made mention of the club's official heritage designation that it was granted in 2015, saying that "heritage protections on the performance space, stage and iconic sign, among other features, would be conserved."
As a result, the letter has since sparked various reports online about the Silver Dollar's reopening, but as the venue's club booker/promoter Dan Burke tells Exclaim!, the future of the space still very much up in the air and far from certain.
"I think Joe Cressy has good intentions, and the current owner of the Silver Dollar will be in close touch with the property owner, but there's a lot of uncertainty about the club's future," Burke says.
As previously reported, Toronto-based rental and development company the Wynn Group has planned to redevelop the site for a 20-storey tower with rental units targeted at students. While a new venue could be incorporated into the redevelopment project, it will still mark the end of the Silver Dollar in its current incarnation.
Burke continues: "Will the new building design be suitable for a live venue? How long will construction take — 18 months? 24 months? — and will there be a market for a live venue of whatever size it might be when it returns? And, if so, will the rent be affordable for live music club? Nobody knows all the answers right now.
"All we can do is hope for the best. But in the next few months, give a proper farewell to the club as we know it."
Burke had previously told Exclaim! that the club's closure date had been set for May 1, adding that "the property owner has been planning a redevelopment for quite some time. It was approved by the city. It's all been sorted out in the past few months."
A formal statement released by Burke and Silver Dollar owner Terry Yarmus reads that "the club will reopen once the project is complete — possibly as a live as venue, possibly with the same ownership, who have a long and respectful relationship with the property owner."
To say goodbye to the Silver Dollar as we know it, Burke also revealed plans for a series of farewell shows, featuring "the best and brightest bands" that have graced the Silver Dollar's stage. Toronto four-piece the Highest Order have already revealed they will be recording a live show at the venue before its closure. They play the Silver Dollar on February 25, and you can get more info here. More shows are expected to be announced soon.
Coun. Cressy's letter is as follows:
Re: Silver Dollar Room to close, Feb.1
Silver Dollar Room to close, Feb.1
This article states that the Silver Dollar Room will be closing its doors for good on May 1. This is not the case.
The Silver Dollar Room and Waverly Hotel are slated for redevelopment, as per a 2015 settlement at the Ontario Municipal Board. However, the city fought to ensure that the Silver Dollar Room, with its heritage protections on the performance space, stage and iconic sign, among other features, would be conserved.
While the venue will close during construction, it will reopen afterwards.
We are losing too many live music venues in Toronto (the Hideout and Hugh's Room are just the latest examples.) However, the Silver Dollar is an example of the city taking action to save one. The Silver Dollar is a historic space for music lovers all over. Thankfully, it will live (and play) on.
Joe Cressy, Ward 20 city councillor, Toronto
The statement from Yarmus and Burke reads as follows:
The is to confirm that The Silver Dollar Room, one of Toronto's most popular and long-serving live music venues, will be closing on May 1.
The club will be shutdown, along with the adjoining Waverly Hotel, for a property redevelopment which includes a highrise student residence.
Due the club's heritage status, the club will re-open once the project is complete -- possibly as a live as venue, possibly with the same ownership, who have a long and respectful relationship with the property owner.
Much is uncertain right now, but the current Silver Dollar management hopes to continue presenting shows during the construction period at a new venue or venues, with the aim of returning to the original site once the project is complete.
What is certain is that in the final three months of the Silver Dollar as we know it , we will be celebrating the club's history with some of the greatest shows the club has ever had.
Stay tuned for programming updates.