Hugh’s Room Live today expressed its gratitude to Councillor Paula Fletcher, Councillor Brad Bradford, Mayor John Tory and Toronto City Council for its approval of Councillor Fletcher’s motion to offer the beloved venue, now a non-profit registered charity, a financial guarantee to support the purchase of a new home.
“In offering Hugh’s Room Live this assistance, the City has recognized the importance of live music in the cultural life of the citizens of Toronto,” said Hugh’s Room Live Board Chair, Brian Iler. “Councillor Fletcher has shown real vision in rolling out the welcome mat in Ward 30.”
“As head of the City’s Music Advisory Committee, Councillor Bradford is all too aware of the challenges faced by the live music sector. Dozens of music clubs and restaurants closed during the pandemic and will never reopen. Hugh’s Room Live champions the ‘roots’ music of North America – blues, folk, jazz, bluegrass, rock, country – as well as the Latin and World Music that reflects our vibrant multicultural community. Hugh’s Room Live must recover to offer both established and emerging artists a stage to perform our music,” Iler said.When Hugh’s Room Live closed the doors on its west end home in March 2020, in some ways it seemed prescient. It was really Toronto’s rising rents that were impacting the venue as much as the impending pandemic. It was clear that to emerge from this time of darkness and bring the beloved venue back, owning its own home had to be part of the strategy. Owning a building will also allow Hugh’s Room the opportunity to realize our vision to create a music focused community centre.
Hugh’s Room Live has found the perfect venue in an historic church designed by E. J. Lennox, and has made an offer to purchase the site. Money for the down-payment was raised through bonds and gifts. “This loan guarantee from the City is an important step in securing funds to purchase the building. We are very hopeful we will receive grant funding from Canadian Heritage’s Cultural Spaces program as well as fundraising to put us in a position to close on the purchase of the building.” Iler said.
“We spent much of the past twenty months re-imagining what Hugh’s Room can be. Of course we want to bring back our wonderful listening room, but we have many other big plans and ideas,” said Iler. “We look forward to consulting with the community about our new vision over the course of the coming year. This assistance from Councillor Fletcher and Toronto City Council has made all of this possible.”