Toronto is a global city, but it’s not just a global city — it’s widely regarded as one of the most, if not the most, diverse metropolises on the skin of this crazy space rock. But can it be even better?
Toronto’s diversity, along with its coveted status as both a business/finance megalith and an international tourist destination, has nurtured a dizzying array of music, arts, and culture. The entertainment industry and the nightlife economy have exploded with Toronto’s growth, but one particular thing, argues the Toronto Music Advisory Council, has barred the city and its residents from developing a “world class nightlife” — and that’s the city-wide 2 a.m. last call.
Unlike other cosmopolitan centers like Hong Kong and New York that can serve patrons until 4 a.m. or later, all Toronto establishments must stop serving at 2 a.m., although the city makes a certain number of permits to serve until 4 a.m. available during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Nuit Blanche events.
Multiple efforts have called for a year-long implementation of the 4 a.m. last call, including a campaign in 2014 that spun off the lastcallto movement, and more recently this past week, as the cause célèbre has been spotted on the docket for a city committee hearing.
CBC News reported that on Monday, November 28, the Toronto Music Advisory Council will present before the Toronto Economic Development and Culture Committee to discuss “the development of a nightlife economy,” which includes the extension of licensing hours.
The Toronto Noise Coalition is predictably opposed to the possible extension of serving hours.
Spencer Sutherland, chair of the Music Advisory Council’s business development committee and a nightclub owner himself, explained to CBC that not only is this a practical economic direction for Toronto’s burgeoning nightlife scene, but it could also mitigate the chaos of people spilling onto the streets from bars and clubs all at once by staggering closing times. He added:
“Two a.m. is just too early for these [music] venues to close. It’s difficult for venues to survive … with a limited number of serving hours.”
The meeting will include considerations for community safety, special events, and late night transportation in addition to the possible extension of last call.