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.