Tapestry’s new digs

You may have been following this saga.  Basically, Artscape had a twenty year lease on a lot of space in the Distillery District which they leased out various arts organisations and studio artists, including Tapestry Opera and Nightwood Theatre; who jointly occupied the Ernest Balmer Studio and adjacent space wherein I attended many, many performances, rehearsals, workshops and so on.  It’s what made the Distillery District more than a bunch of tourist tat and over-priced restaurants. But the lease ran out and the landlord declined to renew.  Tourist tat is more lucrative than art and the Distillery District’s owners have always struggled with the idea of any purpose other than maximising profits.


So Nightwood and Tapestry (and the piano) were homeless for a while and anyone in the arts scene at all knows that any kind of affordable space in Toronto is rarer than a sparkly unicorn.  So t’s a minor miracle that something has been found.  It;’s a basement space at 877 Yonge Street (just north of Canadian Tire) in a building that’s mainly occupied by subsidised sheltered housing operated by not-for-profit St. Clare’s.

It’s enormous!  There’s 6500 square feet in total including a performance space of 3876 square feet which is twice the size of the performance space in the Distillery.  It also provides a separate rehearsal hall, offices and other amenities.  It needs work (it’s a bit of a dump right now!) which will cost around $1.5 million but most of that is committed or looking pretty good.  They could use any extra cash you have lying around though!


I think it has the potential to be an amazing performance space and arts hub.  It’s a few minutes walk from Bloor/Yonge subway which is handier for most people (but not, alas, me) than the Distillery.  It was shown off to a select audience o9n Monday night evening but no time lines on when it might be open for performance were given.  It was however inaugurated artistically with a lovely version of Purcell’s “If Music be the Food of Love” sung a cappella by the one and only Krisztina Szabó.


Photo credit: Dahlia Katz


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