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Music

CiRCA Filing for Bankruptcy?

Posted by Tim / November 28, 2009

Circa BankruptcyRumours have been swirling for weeks that CiRCA will be imminently filing for bankruptcy protection. The mega club, located around the corner from the Scotiabank Theatre and down the street from a Milestones, opened in October 2007 and was initially thought to be the best thing to happen to the Club District in years. But things started to unravel quickly and some suggested the writing was on the wall when founder Peter Gatien ceased relations with the club around March of this year.

Based on information we've gathered, we estimate that earlier this month notices were sent to more than 100 creditors. We managed to track down one creditor (an event promotion company) and received confirmation that a notice was in fact issued and received. We've attempted to get confirmation from CiRCA itself but a call to their offices earlier this week was met with a cheery response claiming that although business was "a bit slow" the company had not filed for bankruptcy.

Should it happen, what a bankruptcy filing will mean for the club and its creditors is still unclear. It's believed that CiRCA will not cease operations, however, and instead simply try to restructure its debt while carrying on business as usual. The web site still indicates a full schedule of events planned through the end of the year.

Talking with former employees and others who had relationships with the club (all of whom asked to be unnamed), we've heard a consistent theme that the club's difficulties likely stem from a combination of an unmanageable rent, too many investors and the unwillingness to follow through on Gatien's initial vision for the club.

Once the vision was abandoned, not only did Gatien depart but a number of other original staffers followed. In August, management gave promoters A.D/D only two days notice that they were terminating Randomland, the club's regular Friday night program, choosing to replace it with a more conventional urban-themed offering.

CiRCA's troubles were also likely a product of the club arriving at the wrong place at the wrong time. The economic recession couldn't have helped and the reputation of the Club District has only continued to decline with most non-905ers (at least those over the age of 23) opting to spend their money at smaller, more intimate clubs and bars on King West, West Queen West, Parkdale and Ossington.

According to club impresario Charles Khabouth, 2009 has been a tough year for the nightclub business. "It's been very up and down. There's a lot of competition out there. I don't like the way a lot of people are competing these days because it's really not very professional. I find a lot of people competing on price - no cover charge, low drink prices. In my opinion lowering the quality of the entertainment, the venues and the service. When you compete that way it brings out a certain crowd."

Khabouth suggested the city may expect to see more club closings early in 2010. "After New Year's there's always two, three clubs that close. For venues that are struggling," he said, "after a couple of snowstorms, you're gone."

Equipment suppliers such as lighting companies are the most likely to suffer if CiRCA closes, Khabouth said. Often companies will purchase expensive gear to lease to a particular client, and, as the club owner observed ruefully, "you know what used equipment is worth."

However, Khabouth believes the biggest losers in any CiRCA bankruptcy will be the employees. "What I see a lot of, when clubs close, is staff getting stiffed."

With contributions from Adam McDowell.

Discussion

66 Comments

jack / November 28, 2009 at 09:52 am
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bye bye
k. / November 28, 2009 at 10:13 am
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Good riddance. I worked for someone employed by them and the new owners basically dug their own grave by getting rid of the things that made the club unique.
Kevin Bracken / November 28, 2009 at 10:20 am
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If CiRCA fails, the AGCO is almost entirely to blame. By witholding their liquor license (at the request of the NYPD!) they made it basically impossible for the club to succeed, despite CiRCA's ambitions to create a true cultural experience. That wasn't just talk either - CiRCA had letters of recommendation from a host of museums, galleries and other centres of culture.

The inner turmoil at the AGCO was evident from the fact that they appealed their own decision in the CiRCA case - which is one of the many reasons I believe the City should have its own liquor authority.
Rico replying to a comment from Kevin Bracken / November 28, 2009 at 10:34 am
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Uh, we don't need any more "authority" on something the province obviously cannot do. The AGCO/LCBO has been nothing but a farce, a cash grab by people who obviously cannot do anything else.
K / November 28, 2009 at 11:22 am
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"I don't like the way a lot of people are competing these days because it's really not very professional. I find a lot of people competing on price - no cover charge, low drink prices."

Wait--offering lower prices is unprofessional?
Rico replying to a comment from K / November 28, 2009 at 11:25 am
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Actually, they are ruthless with regards to lowering prices from suppliers, and having penalties for supply chain management issues. And yes, they can be very demanding. It's not Wal-Mart that takes the hit on low prices. It's the manufacturers.
travis / November 28, 2009 at 12:34 pm
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charles k commenting on other people's professionalism is rich and dripping with irony.
Roger / November 28, 2009 at 01:16 pm
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So when Circa is finally gone from the club district, what's next to go in its place?

An arcade?
Another multiplex cinema?
How about a giant paint ball complex, so all the thugs can get out their pent-up aggression and need to shoot things with a less dangerous outcome?
Mason / November 28, 2009 at 02:08 pm
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CiRCA will be open next weekend.

No where in this article does it say the club is closed for good.

CiRCA is like a cockroach, its just keeps coming back.
Eric26 / November 28, 2009 at 02:09 pm
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Can I be the first to spout the cliché? "In this economy..."
greg / November 28, 2009 at 02:14 pm
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the funny thing about the picture is on the right side of the door are the posters for NYE @ Circa, why wouldnt they show that? OOOHHH right, its would make the story look stupid.
Which it is.
Who cares.
doug / November 28, 2009 at 02:19 pm
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That yellow sign in the corner of the window is the Liquor License suspension, the club isn't closed, their license is suspended,
it happens to every club in Toronto.

In January every other club will serve their license suspensions, lets see if BlogTO does an article on those clubs filing for bankruptcy.


This story is weak.
Matt / November 28, 2009 at 02:27 pm
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There was a person out front of Circa handing out flyers last night FOR Circa next weekend.

Why would they do that if they were closed?

Why would they make posters for upcoming events?

Why does anyone give a shit?
Jordin / November 28, 2009 at 02:32 pm
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The club isn't closed. It has a liquor license suspension. I agree with Greg....the story is weak. Whatever. I recently just bought my tickets for New Years Day with Steve Lawler. I know where I'll be in the New Year! Blogto can suck it and enjoy their weak-ass staff New Years Depression Parties! CiRCA 2.0 baby!!!
Amanda / November 28, 2009 at 02:39 pm
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Blogto should have gotten more facts before they write-up such a story. They obviously hasn't filed for bankruptcy at all. Epic FAIL on Blogto's part.

Anoop / November 28, 2009 at 02:42 pm
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When did Blogto turn into TMZ??? I thought this was supposed to be a credible site. UGH. This is obviously fiction.
Rico replying to a comment from Amanda / November 28, 2009 at 02:42 pm
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Maybe you should stop taking X and frequenting clubs. That way you can pay attention in school and learn how to frickin read. First word in this article is the word 'rumours'.

Honestly I wish they would all close down or move back to 905-land strip mall heaven. Stinky fashion-barf posers should leave Toronto to the city folk.
Reid replying to a comment from Anoop / November 28, 2009 at 03:00 pm
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I agree. I love CiRCA. It's a shame that they got rid of Randomland but the WTF! Friday's with DJ Rynecologist are a sign that they are back to the good ole days. I hope it's a rumour.
Tigerstylez / November 28, 2009 at 03:04 pm
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Charles K is exactly correct...low booze prices....no cover...it only serves to cheapen the industry for everyone. If clubs could actually make some money of liquor sales and cover...maybe we would see the return of talented djs' and entertainers to the club scene.
Derek replying to a comment from Amanda / November 28, 2009 at 03:40 pm
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"We managed to track down one creditor (an event promotion company) and received confirmation that a notice was in fact issued and received."

That confirmation indicates that a bankruptcy filing has taken place. But, due to the anonymity of the promoter and the fact that CiRCA has denied the allegations, the writer of the article has confined himself to reporting on the rumours surrounding the filing. And there is nothing libellous or irresponsible about that.

If I had to label something an epic fail, it would be your reading ability.
truth / November 28, 2009 at 04:12 pm
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I know it would be hard on club operators, but I really wish the DVP, Allen, and Gardiner were closed inbound to the city from 3pm on Friday till 2am Sunday. The "905" crowd (it actually includes 519, 705, Etobicoke, York, and Scarborough as well) just isn't the same. But downtown can't support all the bars that are here. Thursdays and Sundays are the only nights to go out.
CN / November 28, 2009 at 04:36 pm
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CiRCA died the day they kicked out the "gays" and brought in the Hip-Hop crowd.
jason replying to a comment from Reid / November 28, 2009 at 05:46 pm
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"Friday's with DJ Rynecologist are a sign that they are back to the good ole days. I hope it's a rumour."

Those weren't the good ole days, you were just really really fucked up that night. That DJ sucks.
James / November 28, 2009 at 06:07 pm
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From what I hear, many employees haven't been paid in months. The place was kind of cool in its early days, but I have to agree with CN - a hip hop club is a club on the way to being closed.
Brooks / November 28, 2009 at 06:50 pm
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I always wanted to see this club do well. I had many memorable nights there in its early days. However, gradually I found less and less reasons to go. Gatien seemed to have a great vision. It is a shame that, for whatever reasons, his vision did not reach its fruition. I would like to see him take another shot at the Toronto art and club scene. Maybe at a smaller venue.

Also, I don't see where the article says that the club is closing.
annonymous / November 28, 2009 at 09:19 pm
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Ok. I'm settle this.
As a security staff employee i can speak from FIRST HAND experiences...
Most of us security guys know now - to only accept pymt in cash.

We all know the chq's bounce .. and we're often even foreWARNED by our 'Manager' that this might happen. And if it does, bring the chq back, and they'll pay us cash.

They're in really bad shape.
They can't even afford the promoters Gatien used to have. Which is why they're doing so much postering.

I know. 'cause it'sh appened to me.
Rational / November 28, 2009 at 11:06 pm
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Im amazed this topic exists, and that people waste their time expressing their opinions about a rumour posing as news. We should all go outside.
marlon / November 29, 2009 at 12:25 am
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It was a really cool place and I had high hopes for it but you know what they say about good things and lasting. the first two months were great but the buzz was too strong and all the wrong people caught on. that building is cursed and that is the wrong neighbourhood when you are trying to push to interesting adults. CN hit the nail on the head.

as a sidenote cheap drinks and no cover is a great thing, Charles K is a whiner, if expensive clubs with expensive drinks are so great then why are they threatened?
Z / November 29, 2009 at 01:57 am
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i recently saw a movie at the scotiabank theater, only to have the experience ruined by music and basslines from the club coming through the wall behind the screen. that being said, i will not lament the loss of circa in the least. it was large and obnoxious.

also:
circa had all of their equipment repossessed some months ago. it was kept pretty quiet, but frankly i was surprised they didn't shut down sooner.
mark. / November 29, 2009 at 11:56 am
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This kinda reminds me of Dubai - too much, too big! I wonder if the giant mall style club is really a good idea. Places like Footwork continue just fine during good and bad times, and they often have talented DJs (Paul Ritch, Audion, etc.).
I went to Circa once to see Chris Liebing. They promoted the show by saying the Liebing party would be in the front/upper room and that only those with the Liebing ticket would be allowed in there, though we could where ever. Unfortunately the other party (parties?) weren't that great I guess and they let everyone into the Liebing party and a bunch of grumpy HCwDBs came trolling in. Gross.
Ryan C / November 29, 2009 at 02:29 pm
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Went there once. The floors were covered in sticky shit everywhere, the bathrooms were a mess, the drinks were flat (bartender actually asked if it was ok if she served my gin with flat tonic, at regular price) and they had no fruit for the drinks either, and the internal and door security were pricks who were throwing their weight and authority around. Sorry, but a glowing bar table is pretty useless without some fucking drinks, so good fucking riddance. At least now people won't constantly remind me that they're best friends with one of the 2000 "co-owners" of this shit-bomb of a club.
Gabe / November 29, 2009 at 07:56 pm
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Who cares??!?!?!? Out of all of the great Toronto businesses going under, filing for bankruptcy, shutting their doors for good, CIRCA gets its own story all to itself???

I thought Circa was dead from the get go. Do people still go clubbing? YEs, I guess so BUT maybe we should bring it back to booze cans and secret warehouses not multimillion dollar multiplexes. Circa is the West Edmonton Mall of the Club District. So Long, Good Bye
worry about your 4 walls / November 29, 2009 at 08:52 pm
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Romuors of that circa is closing is just dumb..If you ever been there on a friday or saturday night you would see how stupid those comments are...These are just rumors spread by the compitition out there, who are trying to compete with circa and are losing(everyone know who I'm talking about charles).
bankurptcy and restructing are two completely diferent things, and people with a half of brain know the difference. You look at any major bussiness out there and see how many times they restructure there businesses.So cause 2years ago the toronto maple leaf organization re structure there business means that they went bankurpt???????? People need to start thinking with there heads as apose to what rumors say. Go to circa on any friday or saturday and make that call for yourself
Carrie Black / November 29, 2009 at 09:06 pm
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I was there last weekend and it was rammed. I dont think its going anywhere.

Ps. Didnt GM just file for bankruptcy? I dont think they are going anywhere either
Alan F replying to a comment from Carrie Black / November 29, 2009 at 09:37 pm
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BUSINESS 101: Just because a business is RAMMED doesn't mean that they aren't financially screwed or pulling a good profit. Who knows whats in or not in their books. Management, partnerships, loans and taxes play a big part in whether its successful or not. NOT just cause there's a line up at the bar
Afshin Soroudi / November 29, 2009 at 11:25 pm
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Romuors of that circa is closing is just dumb..If you ever been there on a friday or saturday night you would see how stupid those comments are...These are just rumors spread by the compitition out there, who are trying to compete with circa and are losing(everyone know who I'm talking about).
bankurptcy and restructing are two completely diferent things, and people with a half of brain know the difference. You look at any major bussiness out there and see how many times they restructure there businesses. 2years ago when the toronto maple leaf organization restructured their business means that they went bankurpt? People need to start thinking with there heads as apose to what rumors say. Go to circa on any friday or saturday and make that call for yourself. And Shame on BlogTO for writing such a ridiculous article.
Afshin Soroudi / November 29, 2009 at 11:25 pm
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Romuors of that circa is closing is just dumb..If you ever been there on a friday or saturday night you would see how stupid those comments are...These are just rumors spread by the compitition out there, who are trying to compete with circa and are losing(everyone know who I'm talking about).
bankurptcy and restructing are two completely diferent things, and people with a half of brain know the difference. You look at any major bussiness out there and see how many times they restructure there businesses. 2years ago when the toronto maple leaf organization restructured their business means that they went bankurpt? People need to start thinking with there heads as apose to what rumors say. Go to circa on any friday or saturday and make that call for yourself. And Shame on BlogTO for writing such a ridiculous article.
A Lawyer replying to a comment from Derek / November 30, 2009 at 12:32 am
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A bankruptcy filing or petition is public record. It costs $8 to do a search at the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada. The writer should have paid the coin and settled the question.
Bobby replying to a comment from K / November 30, 2009 at 10:05 am
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Yes because it brings in the losers without money into the club district into a venue that was supposed to be prime.
905idiots / November 30, 2009 at 10:38 am
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closing floors to make it looked 'rammed' it a great strategy if you're an idiot and unaware.

Serb / November 30, 2009 at 11:23 am
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"I find a lot of people competing on price - no cover charge, low drink prices. In my opinion lowering the quality of the entertainment, the venues and the service. When you compete that way it brings out a certain crowd."

Oh, Charles... that is funny. In my experience in all these years of clubbing, bar hopping, socializing in entertainment district and whatnot, all I can say is that clubs/bars that DO NOT have a ridiculous cover charges and overpriced drinks do bring out a different type of crowd - more sensible, down to earth people that are easy to have fun with, socialize with, get along with.

And seriously, that comment was the most hypocritical thing I've heard in a while, as the last time I checked Guvernment the water bottles still cost $4, the cover was still some $25-50 (depending what time of the night you'd show up on and who was on the bill in the DJ booth that night), and the staff/entertainment/crowd were pathetic, at the very best. Tattoo wasn't any better either...

Btw, Steve Lawler has been booked for NYE @ Circa?! Jesus... that's the first pleasant thing I've heard all day today - thanks for lighting up my Monday.
Zed / November 30, 2009 at 01:29 pm
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Now if we could just have another dozen Club District clubs go under as well, perhaps the streets will become say again. Open the big clubs in the 905 area where most of the patrons come from anyway, and rent is cheaper - a no brainer
Mike G / November 30, 2009 at 02:08 pm
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worry about your 4 walls on November 29, 2009 at 8:52 PM

Romuors of that circa is closing is just dumb..If you ever been there on a friday or saturday night you would see how stupid those comments are...These are just rumors spread by the compitition out there, who are trying to compete with circa and are losing(everyone know who I'm talking about charles).
bankurptcy and restructing are two completely diferent things, and people with a half of brain know the difference. You look at any major bussiness out there and see how many times they restructure there businesses.So cause 2years ago the toronto maple leaf organization re structure there business means that they went bankurpt???????? People need to start thinking with there heads as apose to what rumors say. Go to circa on any friday or saturday and make that call for yourself

- What an idiot!!! 'Romuors? compitition? bankurptcy? restructing? diferent? "people with half a brain" Wow this guy needs Spelling and grammar 101. Your talking about bankruptcy and restructuring... lol that's a joke you can't even spell. Go back to grade 5 and please educate yourself.
Wads / November 30, 2009 at 03:25 pm
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Really? People still go clubbing?
Thats just so pathetic.
I can just imagine the inside of some place like Circa.
A bunch of greased up douche bags twittering away to one another from across the dance floor as their favorite Rihanna song blares and they wave their hands like they just dont care.
Come on kids, time to grow up.
Like a 19 yr old dog its time to take clubs out back behind the barn.
gr1 / November 30, 2009 at 04:16 pm
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@wads: no, people don't go clubbing. Friday and Saturday night are specifically reserved for quilting and slagging new communications platforms.


I've worked in the night club industry for about five years and can certainly agree with some of the things Charles was quoted as saying such as: staff being the ones who get hurt the most by closures, and a few bad snow storms can be the difference between being solvent and bankrupt.

I also agree that 'super clubs' are a much more difficult venture than smaller club spaces, as many night clubs make their real money from corporate events. It is also harder to keep customers in a large space, as anything short of 300 people in the main room will make the club look 'empty' to some.

It is also very true that having a packed club does NOT mean you are making money, some people stand there and take up valuable real estate in a club or sneak in drugs and alcohol. I understand why, but it certainly affects the bottom line of a club, especially with the high overhead required to run a nice club.

This article does have a lot of conjecture in it, but articles like this are important if you want to be aware of the happenings in Toronto. Like it or not, it certainly got people talking and will hopefully drum up some business for CiRCA, not just for the owners, but for the staff; a strong majority of whom, I wager, only moonlight in the clubs to pursue their real passions by day.

Just because you don't like having fun in a venue like CiRCA does not invalidate the club's existence. Get over yourselves. Different strokes..
idiots who don't know / December 1, 2009 at 12:06 pm
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http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/732900--last-dance-for-big-box-nightclub

haha.
Vincent Puhakka replying to a comment from Wads / December 1, 2009 at 02:52 pm
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Hey Wads, just because you don't lilke a certain style of nightlife doesen't give you the liscence to insult it. I don't like jazz bars all that much but I don't want them 'taken begind the barn'. Some people like to dance to their favourite Rihanna song, while others prefer a pitcher at their favourite put. BOTH ARE ACCEPTABLE! I hope clubland stays in Toronto, we need world class nightclubs.
Vincent Puhakka replying to a comment from Wads / December 1, 2009 at 02:53 pm
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For the record, I like a good quiet pub on a weeknight, but still go clubbing on weekends (Lot332 or Tryst). Best of both worlds people!
Sanchex / December 1, 2009 at 03:21 pm
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Good riddance. Maybe one of the worst live music venues in the city. What's the f**king point of buying a ticket to a concert when you have to line up (around the block) like everyone else.
Divide / December 1, 2009 at 06:01 pm
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"it brings out a certain crowd" ????

Has old Charlie boy ever been to his own flagship club before(Guvernment) ? Based on his comment, I'm guessing not.
Circa Sucks / December 1, 2009 at 06:35 pm
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Couldn't make money practicing law, and can't make money running a club. What a joke. Great job bankrupting your family and friends.
Joe Blo / December 10, 2009 at 01:24 pm
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Hilarious!!!

Khabouth Quote:

"There's a lot of competition out there. I don't like the way a lot of people are competing these days because it's really not very professional. I find a lot of people competing on price - no cover charge, low drink prices. In my opinion lowering the quality of the entertainment, the venues and the service. When you compete that way it brings out a certain crowd."

1. One of his own clubs - Tatto Rock Parlour-$2 Drinks on Sundays!!! LOL

2. Circa's last night is New Years Eve.
lucky replying to a comment from Afshin Soroudi / December 19, 2009 at 08:35 pm
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Dear writer
it seems as though you need serious help with your writing skills. did you mean "restructuring" and "who is" and "as spposed", and what's up with thinking Arabic in your head and converting your half broken train of thoughts into more broken English. maybe you should try out "writing for dummies" on friday nights "as opposed to" club-hopping!
Averharache / December 22, 2009 at 05:32 am
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I think you are right. But you should cover more on this topic.
Averharache / December 22, 2009 at 08:38 am
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I think you are right. But you should cover more on this topic.
Averharache / December 22, 2009 at 09:22 am
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I think you are right. But you should cover more on this topic.
Mohammed / December 28, 2009 at 08:29 pm
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I'm sure Charles' security guys don't have cash flow worries.
yu / December 29, 2009 at 06:53 pm
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It's obvious "wads" here never went to Circa if he thinks all that was played there were Rhianna songs (particularly on Randomland nights, where you had no idea what you might hear). While the epic fail is not cool, face it ... there's going to be those who speak fondly of some good times at Circa when the promoters, personalities and music all fell into place. No, it didn't last, but what does? But writing off everything that ever happened there without so much as ever walking through the door is as douchey as "wads" thinks the crowd was ...
POS replying to a comment from yu / December 30, 2009 at 10:10 am
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Circa is a glorified episode of "Jersey Shore".
Move along.
SMH / March 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm
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GUYS YOU ARE ALL DUMB AND STOP SAYIN THE WRITER DOESN'T KNOW HIS STUFF, THEY SAID THINGS WERE GOIN SLOW NOT IT WAS CLOSED DOWN A COUPLE MONTHS AGO,BUT NOW THE CLUB IS OFFICIALLY NOW CLOSED
HM / April 17, 2010 at 02:06 pm
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once the mumtaz boys left, they took the club with them
johnny / April 19, 2010 at 09:51 pm
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Good riddence.. Terrible management.. Poor service... High prices... Good to see others saw the light and stopped patronizing this terrible club.
CiRCA employee / April 22, 2010 at 01:33 am
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WELL, WHEN YOU SEE INVESTORS TAKE BAGS OF MONEY OUT OF THE CASH OFFICE AT THE END OF EACH NIGHT, YOU KINDA WONDER WHY THEY CLOSED, AND ARE NOW BROKE.....
Syndakit Media Corp / May 5, 2010 at 08:43 am
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This here is a simple text book case of why businesses fail. The business direction is lacking, large overhead with out having any major marketing research. It is believed that there will only be 2-3 big players left in the game while the others will simply not exist. It is important to have sound business models and strategies to survive these slow times. The next 2-5 years will be a real struggle for many of the industries. Visit www.sydankti.pro for blogs on business and how to manage your business and remain afloat.

Regards,
nick / October 26, 2012 at 11:27 am
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I cant believe the club is filing bankruptcy it seemed to be a decent club in edmonton.
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