Published Feb 09, 2017Following a rash of live music spaces in Toronto announcing closures last month, the city's Holy Oak Cafe is the latest to reveal plans to close its doors at the end of February.
The cafe, located at 1241 Bloor Street West, broke the news of their impending closure on Facebook, revealing that the decision was made after new landlords elected to increase rent by $1,200 a month.
"Our focus has always been on building and serving our community first and turning a profit second," the venue wrote. "A rent increase like that makes it untenable for us to continue here."
However, Holy Oak also reassured patrons that the cafe will be looking to reopen in a new location.
"We are now in a comprehensive search for our new space. A new home for us to take root in," the venue said. "We are excited and thinking carefully about how best to serve this community we've hosted and how we might bend with the winds and become stronger."
Over the years, Holy Oak has hosted performances from the likes of Ron Sexsmith, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Bernice, Bonjay, Rae Spoon, LUKA, Anamai, Phedre, and Bob Wiseman over the course of its eight-year run on Bloor Street. Holy Oak was also recognized as a queer-friendly space outside of Toronto's Church-Wellesley Village, hosting DJ nights in addition to its folk-oriented programming.
Last month saw Toronto venues such as the Hoxton, the Silver Dollar Room, Hugh's Room and SoyBomb HQ announce plans to close their doors.
While the Silver Dollar and Hugh's Room stand a chance at reopening following respective restructuring, Toronto city council and the the Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC) are "very aware of these closures" and that they "share the disappointment of musicians, music fans, and the music community at these recent announcements."
Read Holy Oak's complete statement below.
To all the lovers who have joined us on this journey,
As many of you already know, our lease at 1241 Bloor Street West will soon expire. it is a bittersweet time. It's been an emotional time ~ This space has been our home for the past eight years. we have poured our hearts into it, just as you have. but circumstances change. our new landlords insist on raising the rent; an effective increase of $1,200 a month. our focus has always been on building and serving our community first and turning a profit second. a rent increase like that makes it untenable for us to continue here.
We leave with sadness, but with no regrets. It's been such a pleasure to share space and all the things we love with you. when we opened eight years ago, we couldn't have imagined that Holy Oak would grow into such a beautiful community. We count you all as family and are proud to have created this with you where we can come together in a safe, inclusive space & share moments over drinks, with conversations & amazing parties. All this said, it's obvious that Holy Oak is more than the building we have occupied.
We are now in a comprehensive search for our new space. a new home for us to take root in. we are excited and thinking carefully about how best to serve this community we've hosted and how we might bend with the winds and become stronger.
stay tuned to our facebook page for updates.
we hope to announce our plans soon // and we'd love for you to be a part our future!
in the meantime, there is still time to enjoy our current home on bloor street &...you can eventually say goodbye in your way.
follow our fb page & take a boo at our events for february
yours in love & magic