It might be now known as North America's hottest club scenes but it didn't start that way for the area that housed bleak and despairing conditions for the pre-industrial “rag trade”.  Churning out more than half of Canada’s output of raw fabric and finished clothing, sweatshops were the norm and profit centre to the then Garment District.

But by the late 1980’s free trade had brought an end to the domestic garment trade and the beginning of empty warehouse spaces. Desperate landlords sought new tenants and ambitious entrepreneurs saw opportunities.  In 1988 the areas first nightclub opened, Stilife.

Early success inspired many and by the late 1990’s so many clubs were opening in the area that the city took notice of the revitalization and gave the district an official stamp of approval. Toronto’s Entertainment District was born.

By 2000 over a hundred nightclubs had opened and tens of thousands of young people flocked from all over southern Ontario to the scene.  The rapid growth brought others too. Many land developers saw an opportunity to create a neighbourhood for these city fun seekers. A condo boom started and many moved to the area buying up the       expensive tiny dwellings. As more people came so too did problems.   Overcrowding, violence, drugs and accompanying headlines became the norm. With thousands of new residents living in the district, the wild and crazy late nights were starting to cause sleepless nights. Something had to be done. A residents association was formed, the King Spadina Residency Association. Their collective voice pushed club owners into stricter regulations, lower decibels and even closings. 

Clubs and condos? oil and water. The big-city dilemma of incompatible neighbours, digging in for a fight.

Nightclub owners have invested millions into their establishments and are trying to hold on. With around 50 clubs that now exist in the district the area has gone from sweatshops to sweat boxes to shoe boxes in only a generation.

What will one knows, but don't be surprised because this is Clubland.