‘THE SITUATION IS GRIM’: TORONTO CONCERT VENUES LOOK TO GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR SURVIVAL

Heritage Canada updates eligibility criteria for fund after criticism from industry players

Toronto concert venue Lee's Palace owner says government support and the kindness of landlords is the only thing that'll save venues across the city. (Robert Krbavac/CBC)

As music lovers flock to drive-in concerts across the country to get their concert fixes during COVID-19, their favourite indoor venues remain closed — at risk of staying closed permanently.

The pandemic has left live music halls in Toronto and across the country empty, with owners hoping they can make it to the new year.

The president of the Canadian Live Music Association, Erin Benjamin, says the live music industry is being challenged in a way it’s never been in its history.

“It’s a catastrophe. We’re losing venues by the day,” she said.

According to the Canadian Independent Venue Coalition, which has launched an online campaign to support Canadian venues, without government support, more than 90 per cent of independent venues are at risk of shutting down forever.

Some have already closed, like the Orbit Room in Toronto, and the Starlight Social Club in Kitchener-Waterloo.

‘Won’t be able to survive without help’

“The situation is grim,” said Jeff Cohen, the owner of Toronto venues Lee’s Palace and Horseshoe Tavern, as well as the Collective Concerts company.

LEAVE A REPLY