Sad News in Toronto Club Land: The Guvernment to Close

The club complex in the warehouse on Toronto’s Queen’s Quay has been there as long as anyone can remember.  One of my first gigs upon moving to the city was at what was then known as RPM.  In the 90s, it was renamed The Guvernment and became part of a three-room deal that also encompassed Koolhaus and the Orange Room.

The Guvernment/RPM was the first place I saw Nine Inch Nails (they were opening for Peter Murphy), private gigs from the Stone Temple Pilots and the Sex Pistols and countless other bands.  Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, the Rolling Stones all played the room.  My radio station hosted live-to-air broadcasts from the building Friday nights.  We did the CASBY Music Awards from there.  I was the guest at special corporate events in the space.  Later, it became an important part of the city’s burgeoning EDM culture. And as long as I can remember, there were rumours that the place was about to close because the land on which is sits is just too valuable.

The first time I heard such a rumour would have been in the late 80S when I was doing middays on CFNY.  Within seconds of talking about it on the air, I got an angry call from the owner saying that the rumours were untrue that I needed to do a retraction immediately.  Even then, though, anyone associated with Toronto club land knew it was just a matter of time before these stories came to pass.

That time is now.

The announcement came yesterday.  Both the Guverment and Koolhaus will shut down at some between now and January 2015.  They’re being a little coy on the timeline, but you just know it was something to do with condo developers.

After decades of being on the fringes, that area of Toronto’s waterfront is undergoing huge redevelopment.  Across the street is the Corus building. Next to it is a campus of George Brown College.  Further west are a series of massive condo developments.  The LCBO is selling off its HQ.  The financial pressures must be tremendous.

Sadly, it means two less venues for live music in Toronto–and the city really can’t afford to lose space that can stage gigs in the 2,000 person range.  The folks at Sound Academy must be thrilled.

So if you haven’t been in a while, now’s the time to start planning a goodbye trip.  More here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

5 thoughts on “Sad News in Toronto Club Land: The Guvernment to Close

  • May 2, 2014 at 10:27 am
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    This isn’t bad news, this is GREAT NEWS! The Kool Haus, along with Sound Academy have been the worst venues in the city for years. There have been too many great bands I’ve avoided seeing because the sound quality at these giant boxes rendered them unlisteneable, not to mention sight lines that do not benefit anyone under 6 feet tall. Good riddance! There are many better places to see shows in Toronto.

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  • May 2, 2014 at 11:33 am
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    This is disappointing. I’ve been to a ton of great shows at the Koolhaus over the years and agree that there are very limited venues in that size range. In my opinion the Sound Academy is one of the worst venues I’ve ever been to for numerous reasons and I tend to avoid it whenever possible. At least the Danforth Music Hall is back up and running and taking on more shows, but losing the Guvernment and Koolhaus is a significant loss for the city.

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  • May 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm
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    The only place worse than this is the Docks, which i hope sinks in the water one of these days. The one thing that is sad about the closure is that the more venues, the better – this is why Toronto is always a stop for band on their tours.

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  • May 2, 2014 at 9:53 pm
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    My most memorable Kool Haus concert…My Bloody Valentine

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  • May 3, 2014 at 8:35 am
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    not the greatest venue around. i did manage to see Johnny Thunders, Iggy Pop and Motorhead , so it wasnt too bad.

    Reply

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