Matador Ballroom toronto

The Matador Ballroom is finally reopening in Toronto

The historic, 102-year-old assembly hall on Dovercourt just north of College is finally set to open again after years of false starts and licensing woes.

Get ready to fall back in love with the Matador Ballroom: A dance hall-turned-bowling alley turned after-hours rock and country club graced by the likes of Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Stompin' Tom Connors and Leonard Cohen.

Fun fact: The latter singer's song "Closing Time" is said to have been inspired by this very venue.

The Matador closed down as a club in 2006 and it's been a kind of will-they-won't-they sitch ever since (featuring at least one brush with death in the form of a proposed Green P parking lot.)

When owner Paul McCaughey bought the space in 2012, he toyed with the idea of turning The Matador into a wellness centre. Then, in 2015, it was to become a sophisticated live music and events venue.

Zoning, permit and approval issues halted the process—a lot— but McCaughey now appears to have everything all worked out. Enough, at least, for the building to function as a "place of assembly," "eating establishment" and "custom workshop."

McCaughey told The Star this week that he hopes to have the space up and running as a restaurant, wine bar and event hall by the time his liquor license kicks in on March 15 of 2019.

As for now, it's being rented for private events, the first of which is an "immersive technologies stories festival" called FIVARS, running from September 14 - 16.

The International Festival of Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Stories kicks off its fourth year with "dozens of high-quality VR and AR experiences" at the historic Matador Ballroom tomorrow.

Lead photo by

Anna Tou


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The Matador Ballroom is finally reopening in Toronto