Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre Eyed by Residential Developers

The Sorbara Group have shared plans to replace the Cabbagetown venue with a soaring residential complex
Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre Eyed by Residential Developers
Photo: SimonP
Another day, another Toronto venue on the chopping block. After plans to replace the city's Phoenix Concert Theatre were revealed earlier this month, developers have now shared a proposal for the residential building that could occupy the Cabbagetown venue's lot in just a matter of years.

Plans for the site include a 456-unit, 39-storey building that notably does not make space for another music venue. The plans do outline consideration of a retail space that could be used for community purposes, with "programmable space to address the needs of the local artistic community and honour the site's history of live music performance."

While the Phoenix isn't explicitly included in developer Sorbara Group's proposal [via blogTO], this doesn't exactly spell the end of days for the Sherbourne venue, as it could potentially relocate — assuming there's a budget for that. 

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the staple venue, which has hosted the likes of Angel Olsen, Sylvan Esso, Panda Bear, Built to Spill and the Avalanches, among countless others, in recent years. Despite its undetermined fate, the venue has several months of upcoming programming, including performances by Pinegrove, Manchester Orchestra, Guided by Voices and more through to March. 

Should Toronto lose the Phoenix, it will, unfortunately, join a growing list of venues that have met an untimely death since the pandemic began. Last year, Kensington's Round Venue and the Boat closed their doors permanently, while just down College Street, Sneaky Dee's nearly met its fate.

Earlier last year, Queen Street West's Beaver also shuttered. Little Italy's long-standing Mod Club also closed, but was resurrected under new management as the Axis Club earlier this year. 

Meanwhile, Toronto has been collecting big-name, big-budget venues — like Drake's East-End History and the forthcoming Weeknd-backed e-sports-focused waterfront venue — seemingly by the handful.