orbit room toronto

One of Toronto's most beloved music venues is raising money to return bigger and better

Over the past year, Toronto has lost many of its favourite hot spots to eat, drink, and party. Though few had a legacy as storied as Orbit Room.

Opened in 1994 by co-founders Tim Notter and Rush's Alex Lifeson, it quickly became one of the city's favourite places to party, meet friends, and watch fantastic live music.

For most of its 25 years, the Orbit Room had a live band playing just about every single night. Then in July 2020, four months after first closing their doors due to COVID, they announced the doors to their beloved College St. location would remain closed for good.

Stuck with debts, Tim Notter, who had become the venue's sole owner, didn't want this to be Orbit Room's end. After much consideration, he decided to reach out for help from the community that had frequented his venue for years with overwhelming results.

On February 20th, a GoFundMe was started to support the Orbit Room. Within four days, generous donors had already surpassed the $15,000 goal.

"I penced on this gofundme thing for a very long time," explained Notter in an interview with blogTO.

"After wringing my hands for weeks, I decided to do it because I talked to a lot of people who said 'Tim, you don't seem to realise how much people loved the Orbit Room and want it back or want to remember it, or just want to help you.'"

Now two weeks into Orbit Room's month-long fundraising effort, donations and heartfelt comments continue to pour in from fans of the iconic venue.

"I've been blown away by the response," said Notter. "I feel very good about the fact that I have all these people behind me. Whatever it is I do when the time comes, they're going to want to be part of that too."

Although it could still be some time before operating a live music venue again becomes feasible in the city, Tim Notter is planning for The Orbit Room to return bigger and better than before.

As it stands, plans include finding a venue at least twice the size of the previous one, allowing Orbit Room to host theatre-like shows where guests could book a table to watch some of Toronto's best local talent.

"We had tremendous bands and I think people appreciated that," explained Notter. "People came to the Orbit Room because they knew any night of the week, they were gonna see something remarkable."

Notter admits that he doesn't think the eventual re-opening party could be contained to a single night. When Orbit Room does return, it will likely involve a week-long celebration featuring new acts and old favourites.

Though the past year has been rough for business owners, there remains plenty of hope for the future. Notter and the Orbit Room team belives that music-lovers in Toronto will be back in full force ready to make up for lost time.

"I think the opportunity is going to be spectacular," told Notter. "Once people are vaccinated, and once this thing goes away, I think people are really gonna be ready to rock."

Until that time comes, Tim Notter knows none of this would have been possible without the support of the Orbit Room family.

"I want to thank everybody who sent me all the kind and heartfelt messages and that I have no intention of having the whole thing fade away. It will be something. It will be back."

Lead photo by

Orbit Room/Hot Fiyah

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