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South side exterior (main entrance was on east side)
|Former names||Fresh (1984-1985)
|Address||132 Queen's Quay East
Toronto ON M5A 3Y5
|Location||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Capacity||The Guvernment (3,000)
Kool Haus (2,500)
Entire Complex (10,000+)
|Closed||25 January 2015|
The Guvernment was a nightclub complex in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was also the name of one of the two main performance venues within the complex. The other venue was Kool Haus (formerly The Warehouse). Other smaller rooms within the complex included: The Drink (renovated to become Cathouse then Surface), D'Luxe Lounge (renovated to become Haven), The Orange Room (renovated to become Chroma), SkyBar, Charlies (renovated to become Gallery), Tanja and Acid Lounge. The Guvernment opened in 1996 and closed in early 2015.
Prior to closure, the property was sold to The Daniels Corporation real estate development company and is since March 2015 in the process of being turned into C$700 million condominium development called City of the Arts.
The site of the Guvernment was first converted into a nightclub in 1984 as Fresh Restaurant and Nightclub by Tony and Albert Assoon, two of the four Assoon brothers who ran the successful and influential Twilight Zone after-hours club at 185 Richmond Street West. However, Fresh did not do well and was quickly sold by late 1985.
The space returned almost immediately as RPM under the ownership of Murray Ball, an entrepreneur who already had experience on the Toronto nightlife scene having successfully run The Copa in Yorkville. Well known local DJs Terry "TK" Kelly and Chris Sheppard were brought over from The Copa to be RPM's residents.
The declining RPM and The Warehouse venues were taken over in late 1995 by Charles Khabouth. Following extensive renovation, he renamed RPM as The Guvernment and reopened in 1996. The Warehouse name was initially kept, but by late 1997 was also renamed as Kool Haus. Khabouth revamped RPM and installed a series of smaller lounges and bars within the complex. A sound system was designed for the main room by Steve Dash and remained throughout the club's existence despite various renovations. Khabouth credited the system as one of the best in the city and would call Dash up from the United States to tune the room's mixer when required. Khabouth also installed a wooden raised floor that had to be redone every year due to wear and tear at a cost of $30,000 to $40,000. Khabouth cited it as a necessary component to achieve better sound.
Saturdays (a.k.a. Spin Saturdays) at The Guvernment featured underground electronic dance music until 7AM with resident DJs Mark Oliver and duo Manzone & Strong. Spin Saturdays (or Alive till 7 as it was later known) played host to many international DJs such as Above & Beyond, Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta, Ferry Corsten, Marco V, Markus Schulz, Deadmau5, Sasha, Paul Oakenfold, and Carl Cox.
Annually the Kool Haus would host "full-complex" events where all seven rooms that made up the complex were accessible. These events were held on long weekends and special occasions and sometimes went as late at 10AM. Some of these events included Labour of Love, Decadence, Freedom, Thriller, and the nightclub's anniversary party. On these nights, various international electronic music artists performed in the different themed rooms hosting upwards of 10,000 guests. Steve Lawler's Canada Day sunrise sets on the roof top terrace SkyBar were considered legendary by many.
Closure and demolition
On 1 May 2014, the Guvernment's parent company, INK Entertainment, announced plans to close the entertainment complex effective 31 January 2015. The decision was prompted by the sale of the city-owned property, that INK had been renting since 1996, to The Daniels Corp, a property development company, which outbid INK and also bought out the rest of the block in preparation for what was expected to be a massive condo development. Club owner Charles Khabouth promised a series of farewell events leading up to the closure.
On Sunday, 25 January, The Guvernment hosted its final event with deadmau5 as the headliner. Resident DJ Mark Oliver along with Khabouth played the final track, "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer. Following a month-long dismantling that commenced immediately after the final night, the complex began demolition in late February 2015.
Khabouth has indicated his intention to build a bigger venue of approximately 100,000 square feet to replace the Guvernment while admitting that it would probably have to be outside of downtown Toronto due to difficulty of finding a suitable property of that size in the heart of the city.
In late March 2015, at a presentation attended by Toronto mayor John Tory, The Daniels Corporation announced plans of building a C$700 million development named City of the Arts that is to include two mid-rise commercial towers, two sky-high residential ones and post-secondary academic space.
- Alcoba, Natalie (27 March 2015). "$700M project at site of old Guvernment nightclub set to transform the Toronto waterfront". National Post. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
- BlogTO History of Guvernment
- Discogs - The Warehouse, Toronto - Discography recorded at The Warehouse
- Stevenson, Jane (25 January 2015). "Legendary Guvernment nightclub faces wrecking ball". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- DJ Mag article
- trance.nu - Markus Schulz - Toronto 2009
- "Discogs - John Digweed Live in Toronto". Discogs.
- DJMag - top100clubs - Guvernment
- Mudhar, Raju; Menon, Vinay (1 May 2014). "Guvernment nightclub to close next Jan. 31". Toronto Star. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- Starr, Ryan (8 May 2014). "Daniels confirms it has bought Guvernment and Koolhaus complex". Toronto Star. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- Andrew-Gee, Eric (30 January 2015). "Dismantling the Guvernment, piece by garish piece". Toronto Star. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- Teo, Mark (25 February 2015). "Toronto's Kool Haus and Guvernment are currently being demolished". Aux.tv. Retrieved 1 November 2015.