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Toronto Club District

What does the future look like for the Club District?

Posted by Luke Champion / September 13, 2010

Toronto Club DistrictWhen CiRCA shut its doors earlier this year, the writing was already on the wall. Just a few years prior, big box nightclubs were ubiquitous along the Richmond street corridor, drawing the equivalent of a small city to the area every week. But a combination of bad press, pressure from city council and competition from burgeoning hot spots like Parkdale and Ossington, forced many of the mega clubs to close their doors, shifting the region once again toward new frontiers.

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Toronto Club District

How Inside Nightclub became a daycare

Posted by Luke Champion / August 29, 2010

Kinder CollegeThe first thing you'll notice about Joseph Ko when you meet him is his is his age. He looks far too young to be running an operation like Kinder College, but it is in part his idealism that made it possible.

"Looking back, if I had known everything that I know now," he said. "I probably wouldn't have opened a childcare center, just because it would have seemed impossible."

Lucky for Ko his naivety allowed him to conquer "one insurmountable obstacle after another" until finally his dream was realized.

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Toronto Club District

Toronto's soup king to expand to Leslieville, Yonge and Sheppard

Posted by Luke Champion / August 22, 2010

Toronto soup kingAs Ravi Kanagarajah unlocks the gate to his Adelaide Street restaurant - RaviSoups - Saturday morning, he warns me to watch out for the pool of vomit guarding the doorway. "This is what happens in the Entertainment District," he says with a smile, his Sri Lankan accent cushioning his consonants.

But despite the occasional mess left by over zealous club kids, Kanagarajah remains pretty blasé about his noisy neighbours. He's not open nights so for the most part, he's spared the headaches that come with a 3am feeding frenzy. He tried it one Friday shortly after he first opened; it was a lesson he learned very quickly.

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Toronto Club District

Inside a Victorian era house in Toronto's Club District

Posted by Luke Champion / August 21, 2010

Lawyer Club DistrictRobert Girvan moved into 326 Richmond Street West nearly 18 months ago. He rents a room on the main floor, a simple but elegant office space with hardwood floors, French doors and exposed brick.

Girvan shares the century old house with seven other lawyers, three of them criminal lawyers like himself, the others in entertainment law. From the outside it's a typical Victorian era home, similar to the handful of remaining residences on the street, most of which have been converted into commercial space. These days when one goes vacant - like the property next door, a former sandwich shop - there's always the danger of them being town down.

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Toronto Club District

The history of a downtown Toronto youth hostel

Posted by Luke Champion / August 20, 2010

Canadiana Backpackers InnOver the past decade, Chris Morgan has slowly accumulated a collection of houses on Widmer Street between Adelaide and Richmond. He's acquired eight buildings - only two are independent.

But Morgan isn't a bored billionaire with an expensive hobby, he's not a real estate developer either and he's not looking to build some monolith filled with condos and movie theatres and fancy restaurants.

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Toronto Club District

Charles Khabouth unveils Bisha, his new boutique hotel

Posted by Rick McGinnis / August 18, 2010

Bisha TorontoNot that it was a surprise, but clubland impresario Charles Khabouth finally took the wraps off his Bisha boutique hotel and condo project last week. The 41-storey tower will go up near King and Peter, on the site that once housed Second City's second home in Toronto, and will feature 100 hotel rooms and 322 condo suites, the latter to range from $300,000 to $1.5 million.

It's a whole new plateau for the man who began his career with a tiger and a police siege in the office of his first club, but who broke ground in what would later be known as the Entertainment District. The famously workaholic Khabouth and his INK Entertainment is behind The Guvernment, Kool Haus, Ultra Supper Club, Spice Route, Tattoo Rock Parlour and more, but for a project the size of Bisha he's teamed up with Lifetime Developments, who include Liberty Market, M5V, Water Park City and the new and old Four Seasons among their portfolio.

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