Rolly's Garage

Rolly's Garage Needs Help and Ossington Residents Need Sleep

Neighbours of Rolly's Garage, the mechanic shop turned arts venue on Lower Ossington, are in a bit of a quagmire. They like sleep. They also like art and the creative use of buildings.

"I think what's happening in the building is great... but sometimes the noise was totally unbearable," says one of Rolly's residential neighbours, who preferred to remain anonymous. "I called the police a few times because of it."

Another neighbour called a building inspector. The visit recently shut Rolly's bay door. Now Robin Lacambra is struggling to raise $100,000 to renovate the garage before it can open as a venue again. One of the renos includes soundproofing the building.

"I plead guilty as charged. But our intent was never to be a nuisance to the community," says Lacambra.

Last year, the 23 year-old decided to use her dad's garage to promote Toronto arts.

Rolly's became a creative hub for struggling and established artists. Sook-Yin Lee threw the after party for her TIFF directorial debut at the garage. A Toronto artist sold a piece to Adrian Grenier of HBO's Entourage stardom during a Rolly's exhibit. Day concerts for kids to enjoy live music and night markets inspired by Asian night bazaars became two staple events for the venue.

Lacambra says showcasing different arts and artists in an unpretentious space is the essence of Rolly's. I guess it's hard to feign pretension when you're standing on a grease-stained floor.

Lacambra dad's bought the building in 1986, the year Lacambra was born. She took over the garage when her father injured himself in a bike accident. He agreed Lacambra could use the space as long as she paid the rent.

"We're not a wealthy family. If I can't pay the rent, my dad's selling or leasing the place."

She just hosted a fundraiser last Saturday to raise rent money. To fund the renovations, most of her hopes hinge on winning the Aviva Community Fund competition.

Lacambra says it's a shame Rolly's shut down when it did. She started saving money for renovations and phased out concerts in favour of lower key events.

"I guess my realization was too little too late," says Lacambra.

But Rolly's isn't the only or main source of noise on Ossington, where clubs and bars sprouted like weeds over the last year. Maybe sleep is simply elusive for neighbourhood residents until the next trendy area comes along.


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