liquor donuts toronto

New Kensington Market funhouse might not be what it seems

The psychedelic looking 1950's-era grocery store turned "choose-your-own-adventure playground" opening in downtown Toronto this summer is coming under some scrutiny right now thanks to a liquor license application for the same address.

Friends of Kensington Market — a 5,000+ member strong Facebook page — put out a call to action on Thursday afternoon for locals to file a formal objection to what it called a "a 622-seat bar" in the mixed residential neighbourhood.

"Fairland Funhouse's arts focus is only a temporary pop-up," reads the message. "The permanent venue is a 622-seat bar called Liquor Donuts. This enterprise is owned by a corporate entity and is a concept tied in to a 2014 movie." 

"Kensington Market is being used as a promotional tool for a major corporation," it continues. "Object here."

The post links to an Alcohol and Gaming Comission of Ontario website where members of the public can search all pending Liquor Sales Licence Applications by location.

Indeed, an entity called "LD Eats" has applied for a license at 241 Augusta Avenue, where artists and workers are already setting up Fairland Funhouse, a yet-to-open music venue and experiential art maze that people can already buy tickets for.

The application doesn't show anything about a 622-seat bar or restaurant, at least not publicly, but a press release announcing the space earlier this month does make mention of what "LD" might mean.

"Disguised as an underwater ballroom, the mainspace can accommodate over 200 guests and features Toronto's delicious new pastime - Liquor Donuts," it read.

The release also noted that Fairland Funhouse is being produced as part of a partnership between Universal Music Canada and the newly-launched arts collective Monda Forma.

As for the "concept tied in to a 2014 movie" part of the Friends of Kensington Market Facebook post, a business called Liquor Donuts is featured in the 2014 Canadian cult horror-comedy movie WolfCop — but this could all just be a coincidence.

A bar named after something from a famous movie or TV show wouldn't exactly be unheard of, like, anywhere on earth — and accounts tied to both Fairland Funhouse and LiquorDonuts.com suggest that the latter will be opening soon in Kensington Market.

It seems more than anything that Liquor Donuts will be the permanent tenant of the old Fairland supermarket in Kensington Market after the funhouse summer art and music experience moves on.

What any of this has to do with Wolfcop (and its near-identical Liquor Donuts logo) has yet to be determined. I suppose we'll find out soon enough!

UPDATE — Fairland Funhouse has issued the following statement via Monda Forma's Jonah Brotman:

"241 Augusta Avenue will eventually transform into Liquor Donuts, a music-themed donut shop that serves craft beer inspired by the fictitious venue in the 2014 cult classic Wolf Cop and recently released sequel Another Wolfcop. Scheduled to launch in its final form in January 2019, the venture will feature a permanent multi-use gallery space, record pressing and studio/production space in the basement. The venture is independently owned by Canadian film producer J. Joly and with partners that include Chef Daniel Janetos. 

When the Toronto-based collective of artists behind Fairland Funhouse were looking for a venue with character and a sense of community to house their dream for an art maze by local artists, the 1950s grocery store in Kensington market seemed like a natural fit. The Liquor Donuts team offered the space indefinitely with the opportunity to soft launch their new concept by opening a pop-up in the funhouse lobby. 
 
The numbers seen in the liquor license application were simply a reflection of capacity calculations based on square footage set by the AGCO. Ultimately, the owners will work with the Toronto Fire Department inspector to arrive at a safe number. The motivation was to provide flexibility depending on the residency and cultural events booked.

The artist collective and Liquor Donuts team have met with and continually seek guidance from Kensington BIA, KMAC (Kensington Market Action Committee), Kensington Jazz Festival and Councillor Cressy and local residents and business owners to ensure the future of 241 August Avenue aligns with the spirit and values of Kensington Market."

Lead photo by

Fairland Funhouse


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