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Development proposal could mean the end for Sneaky Dee’s

Development proposal could mean the end for Sneaky Dee's

Kayla Goodfield, CP24.com Published Monday, September 7, 2020 1:53PM EDT Last Updated Monday, September 7, 2020 6:35PM EDT

A development proposal submitted to the City of Toronto last week could mean the end for Sneaky Dee’s, an iconic downtown music venue and restaurant.

The proposal, which was submitted on Sept. 4, calls for a 13-storey mixed-use building that would take over the lot Sneaky Dee’s currently sits on, as well as other neighbouring units along College Street east of Bathurst Street.

The proposal consists of 169 dwelling units and 13,009 square metres of “combined residential and non-residential gross floor area.”

Sneaky Dee’s has been around since 1987. It was originally located on Bloor Street near Honest Ed’s.

Reacting to the possible closure, Mayor John Tory said he is concerned about the potential loss of another music venue in Toronto.

“We know the importance of music venues in our city – that’s why we have taken action to help provide property tax relief for these sites to help them remain viable,” Tory said on Monday.

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While the application has been filed for the downtown site, planning officials have yet to review it, the mayor said.

“I am committed to working with local councillor Mike Layton to make sure whatever happens at this location is in the best interests of the community, something which goes well beyond any single development,” he said.

“Hearing from the community is an important part of the planning process and I want to assure people that both councillor Layton and myself will be listening to their feedback.”

Layton took to Twitter over the weekend to express his feelings on the matter.

“Late Friday before the long weekend a developer submitted an application that includes the site of iconic Sneaky Dee’s,” he wrote. “I’ve watched friends bands upstairs and eaten kings crown at brunch for as long as I can remember. We can’t lose institutions like these.”

Layton went on to state that he has not seen any further details of the proposal.

“There are many considerations, but first will be that the area has been under review as part of a Kensington Market Heritage Conservation District coming to council in fall,” he said.

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When asked further about the proposal on Monday, Layton said the city will be receiving supportive documents from the developer in the coming weeks.

“What we do know is they are proposing a 13-storey building where one would have expected a little bit of a shorter building,” he said. “I don’t know in detail about if or what they are proposing to keep.”

“There’s more than just one venue here but we don’t know and we haven’t seen yet if the developer is interested in keeping those and keeping some of that vibrant scene on that corner in such an important area of Toronto that I would say is vital to not only the music industry in the city as we lose small and medium-sized venues, but also to our overall collective quality of life in using spaces where you can create great memories.”

On social media, many were opposed to the possible new development. Thousands have signed an online petition to “save Sneaky Dee’s.”

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Old Toronto series creator Morgan Cameron Ross said it is encouraging to see residents and local politicians expressed their concern for the venue’s future.

“It’s an institution, and it’s one of the few in the city that has stayed with us,” Ross said.

“I think we all have this feeling where we’ve lost too many institutions…especially music venues.”

A request for comment from Sneaky Dee’s has not yet been returned.

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Michael Turner

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