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Driving Downtown 360 - Toronto's Sports Street - Toronto Ontario Canada - Episode 3.
Starting Point: Bremner Boulevard - https://goo.gl/maps/syg9V6f7oE92 .
The Toronto Entertainment District is an area in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is concentrated around King Street West between University Avenue and Spadina Avenue. It is home to theatres and performing arts centres, Toronto's four major-league sports teams, and an array of cultural and family attractions. The area is also home to most of the nightclubs in Toronto. The officially designated district does not include Yonge Street, where the Elgin/Wintergarden Theatres, Ed Mirvish Theatre, Panasonic Theatre and Massey Hall are located, nor does it include the St. Lawrence Centre or the Sony Centre.
2000s: Condo boom and population spike
In 2001, twenty-one-year-old local hospitality entrepreneur and former minor league hockey player Travis Agresti opened Inside at 218 Richmond Street West, a three-level nightclub that would become notable due to its association with the Raptors' basketball superstar Vince Carter who within two years decided to invest in the huge venue, becoming its co-owner. The two had reportedly met during late 1990s at nearby Fluid nightclub where Agresti worked as venue manager before deciding to launch his own nightclub down the street. Carter reportedly came to Inside's opening night and liking what he saw eventually decided to invest in the club. Though not involved in day-to-day running of the venue, Carter's high media profile nevertheless attracted a long list of visiting athletes, musicians, and entertainers to Inside such as Jason Kidd, Antawn Jamison, Barry Bonds, Prince, Nelly Furtado, NSYNC, Kanye West, Paris Hilton, Chris Rock, Jessica Alba, Elisha Cuthbert, etc. Even with Carter getting traded from the Raptors in late 2004, the club continued to thrive as a partnership between him and Agresti, expanding and opening additional lounges within the complex. However, the operation soured in the late 2000s due to the financial crisis and suddenly folded. By 2010, the space got turned into day care for the kids of employees working in the nearby Financial District.
Simultaneously, all throughout the early 2000s, the Toronto condo boom began to transform the area. The abandoned warehouses began to be transformed into lofts, or demolished to make way for condominium towers. The core of the Entertainment District had only 750 residents in 1996, but this had gone up to 7,500 by 2005. The crowds, noise, and occasional crime especially associated with the clubs caused conflict with the new homeowners.
The trend of the area being turned into a residential neighbourhood continued even more rapidly in the second half of the decade. Nightclubs still opened, including CiRCA launching in October 2007 on John St. between Richmond West and Adelaide West inside the RioCan Hall (formerly Festival Hall), perhaps the most ambitious club ever in Toronto due to its sheer size of 53,000 square feet and the money spent before opening. Further adding to its mystique was the fact that the man behind it was Peter Gatien, legendary former New York City nightclub czar who owned 1980s and 1990s hotspots such as The Limelight and Tunnel before being deported back to Canada. However, CiRCA's financial implosion less than 3 years later only served to underscore the neighbourhood's shift and was seen by many as the definitive symbol of the death of Toronto's clubland
Toronto is the most populous city in Canada, the provincial capital of Ontario, and the centre of the Greater Toronto Area, the most populous metropolitan area in Canada. In the 2011 census, Toronto had a population of 2,615,060, making it the fifth largest city in North America. A population estimate from a city report released in 2013 shows the city is now the fourth most populous city in North America, after Mexico City, New York City, and Los Angeles. A global city, Toronto is an international centre of business, finance, arts, and culture, and is widely recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world.