Toronto's Silver Dollar Room to Close Its Doors

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jan 31, 2017

Toronto recently lost two live music venues, Hugh's Room and DIY space SoyBomb HQ, earlier in 2017. Now, the city's legendary Silver Dollar Room is set to close this spring.

Speaking to Exclaim!, Silver Dollar club booker/promoter Dan Burke broke the unfortunate news about the closing of the venue.

"We know that our end date is probably May 1," Burke tells us. "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."

Located on the northwest corner of Spadina and College streets, the Silver Dollar and adjacent 117-year-old Hotel Waverly first began facing the threat of demolition in 2013 when Toronto-based rental and development company the Wynn Group tabled plans for a 20-storey tower with rental units targeted at students.

Reports surfaced in recent years that, in addition to retail space and a fitness centre, a new venue could find a home on the tower's ground floor. A demolition proposal was rejected by the Toronto and East York Community Council in 2014, saying the "proposal in its current form is not supportable." The Silver Dollar was also granted official heritage designation by the city of Toronto in 2015 for "being of cultural heritage value or interest."

At this point, though, the exact future of the space is unclear, but the Silver Dollar will not be part of it.

"Whether it'll be a live bar or student club, I have no idea," Burke adds. "It is the end of the Silver Dollar as we know it."

Built in 1958 to serve as a cocktail lounge to the adjacent hotel, the Silver Dollar became a hotspot for local jazz and blues musicians before hosting shows across a variety of genres. Over the years, the venue has also proven itself as an invaluable incubator for a range of talented young acts from both in and out of the city, highlighted best by Burke's annual "Class of" series. This year, Exclaim! teamed up with Burke and the Silver Dollar for the Class of 2017 instalment of the series.

In approaching the venue's closing date, Burke is currently contacting "the best and brightest bands" that have graced the Silver Dollar's stage for a series of farewell shows. Already, Toronto four-piece the Highest Order have revealed they will be recording a live show at the venue before its closure.

The Silver Dollar will also host a CMW triple-header featuring Philadelphia's Japanese Breakfast on April 20, 21 and 22.

"There will always be new venues, none as good as the Silver Dollar though," Burke says. "It's a great room. And you never know, there might be live music there again. That remains to be seen."

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