Toronto Diary
2 min

Ossington Ave the Latest Front in Council’s War on Fun

Back in May I’d pointed you to the city’s decision to put a one-year pause on issuing new liquor licences on Ossington Ave, in order to slow down the growth of the fast hipsterizing neighbourhood. Well, now the city is moving to impose a whole whack of permanent restrictions on new businesses and restrictions on expansions of businesses already resident on the strip.

If passed at council, restaurants and bars will be banned from having more than one storey, they won’t be allowed to have a back patio, they won’t be allowed to have a side patio more than half the size of the restaurant, they’ll be barred from having large open doors or windows, and they won’t be allowed to be more than 175 square metres.

Ossington Ave is just the latest front in city council’s War on Fun, from the “entertainment district” clampdown on dance clubs, to the province’s aggressive enforcement of liquor licencing by-laws against arts institutions, to the city’s (and AGCO’s) war with Circa nightclub. It’s time we put our feet down and said “Enough’s enough!”

Just last year, Ossington Ave was a seedy area of town known more for drugs, prostitution, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health than it was for its blossoming cultural scene, but the city obviously sees a problem with the kind of revitalisation that the swank, hipster lounges have brought. Does it actually believe the street was better before all these cool venues dropped into place? Won’t these restrictions just push business to the next district over, say Bloor and Lansdowne?

Ossington is home to a number of queer-friendly sweaty little bars that have made a great home on the strip in the last year. It would be a shame to see business owners punished because they’re giving citizens exactly what they want while doing a major benefit to a previously crumbling neighbourhood. The local councillor is Joe Pantalone, and he’s the key behind the city’s aggression on Ossington Ave. 

Contact your city councillors if you disagree with the plan, espcially if you live in the neighbourhoods represented by Joe Pantalone, or neighbouring wards represented by Adam Vaughan, Adam Giambrone, and Kyle Rae.  

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