The Silver Dollar has been designated a heritage site by Toronto

The legendary venue was threatened by developers a few years ago.

January 13, 2015

While the plight of the El Mocambo is well-documented, less attention has been given to the troubles of the Silver Dollar, located a block north of the fabled venue. Which is an absolute shame: While the ElMo has fallen into disrepair, the Silver Dollar has established itself as one of Toronto’s best, and most storied, venues. Who, for example, could forget the haymaker Jay Reatard threw at the Silver Dollar? Or the time when promoter Dan Burke got smashed in the head with a guitar?

Still, the nearly 60-year-old venue—which shares a block with the run-down Waverly Hotel and electronic-music mainstay The Comfort Zone—was threatened by change a few years ago, when developers announced their plans to convert the site into student residences. Thankfully, we were delivered good news today—Burke posted on Facebook that the Silver Dollar Room has been designated a heritage site.

Here’s what Burke posted on Facebook.

Having a heritage designation won’t ensure that the Silver Dollar stays open—but it vastly improves its chances. Buildings designated as heritage sites under the Ontario Heritage Act receive certain protections; its owners must apply for permits to alter heritage sites.

What happens next, however, is unclear. The neighbouring Waverly Hotel wasn’t designated a heritage site, and neither has the Comfort Zone—which, we’ll argue, is also a site of great cultural interest to Torontonians. So a student-resident-centric development may, in fact, still happen nearby.

We’ll keep you updated on the story.

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