Residents in Toronto are calling for the city to prevent nightclubs from operating close to residential buildings after being impacted by blaring music and loud crowds. The city is set to hold a “night economy” review which will involve updating definitions, rules and licensing for bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. Kyle Knoeck, director of zoning and city planning with the City of Toronto, said there is significant interest in ensuring there are “culturally vibrant activities” taking place across the city outside of business hours. City officials are aware there have been some conflicts with residents and “bad operators” that could taint the general public’s views.
In June 2022, Hyde Social nightclub opened up in a commercial space on King Street West, right underneath a condominium building. Multiple residents said heavy dance music and electrical vibrations could be heard and felt throughout the building, preventing them from sleeping. The alleged nightclub, which recently shut its doors after eight months, operated under an “eating establishment” licence, meaning they are considered to be a restaurant, café, bar or pub with seating for patrons.
Residents claimed last summer the nightclub under their condo had seating, but advertised they were open until 3 a.m., and had bottle service and guest list options available. A 2017 auditor general’s report found eating establishments are not subject to the same “rigorous requirements” as nightclubs, which have to provide noise and crowd control plans, and must be with at least one security guard for every 100 patrons.
The city is considering whether nightclubs should be allowed to operate outside of the downtown core and whether zoning bylaws should be updated to reflect the modern restaurant industry, which often mixes dining with entertainment. The city is hoping to take feedback from the public and businesses during the public consultations, which are set to take place in the coming week. The officials aim to make recommendations in the fall of 2023.
Residents have complained about music blaring until 3 am. from establishments licenced as restaurants and the anxiety of constantly anticipating when the noise will return. They are ready to use the upcoming public meeting as an opportunity to tell city officials about the impact the loud music and vibrations reverberating from nearby nightclubs has had on their lives. They hope that changes will be made to licensing and zoning regulations for bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues in order to prevent noisy nightclubs from operating close to residential buildings.