After more than 60 years of entertaining downtown Toronto, the Carlton Cinema will close on Dec 6, citing declining business and stiff competition from the larger, more comfortable multiplexes downtown. This is a hard blow to fans (and makers) of independent, Canadian, and queer cinema, as the Carlton is one of very few cinemas that screens these films (in Toronto at least, if not in Canada as a whole). Unfortunately, this highlights a problem with Canadian and indie filmmaking — there’s simply not many options available for distribution and screening. Perhaps it’s time that the government step in and put content quotas in cinemas, like we have on radio and television, and like exist in many other countries that have thriving domestic film industries.
The Globe reports that the space will not be taken over by another movie chain, but will instead be redeveloped into a retail space. On the plus side, a redevelopment that brings increased foot traffic to that part of the neighbourhood may decrease the number of sketchy individuals hanging out on that strip.
Speaking of redevelopment, Toronto is moving to ban corporate and union donations for next year’s election, which would remove much of the power that the development industry has over councillors.
In other news, Pride reports that this summer’s festival generated a whopping $136 million impact on the Toronto economy, up 37% from just three years ago. That’s an impressive figure, and you can read the study yourself (caution: large file), even though from my perusal it seems to mostly amount to blind guesswork and wild extrapolation. Interesting stats from the report: more women attend the festival from out of town than men; around 30 percent of out-of-town festival attendees are straight (fag-hags?); and more people from out-of-town attended the Deborah Cox concert than the Kelly Rowland concert. You remember the Kelly Rowland concert? The one that pride spent that big federal grant on to woo tourists from out of town. I guess that money wasn’t so well spent (even if the report plays statistical voodoo to make it look like it generated several millions in economic spin-offs).
In related news, the federal government has decided to move next June’s G-20 conference to Toronto from the originally scheduled venue of Huntsville, Ontario, which may prove Pride’s earlier decision to reschedule next year’s festival to the following week so as not to conflict with the conference to have been wise. On the other hand, while we’ve got the world’s leaders gathered in town, this may be the perfect time for Pride to promote international queer rights.
And just breaking right now: assault charges against Black Eyed Peas manager Polo Molina stemming from his allegedly punching Perez Hilton in the face after the MuchMusic Video Awards have been dropped after Molina promised to apologise to Hilton and stay away from him and make an unspecified charitable donation.