For the past week, Toronto staff has been gathering public input for a new framework for bars, restaurants and entertainment venues to support strategies to enhance the city’s night economy.
This week, the city’s economic and community development committee could take another step by signing on to a global movement called the Nighttime Manifesto. And it’s a bit strange.
The manifesto itself, which seems to be a collective of club owners worldwide, is fine. But the Manifesto communication materials including the website as well as YouTube videos seem, well, a little wild to be taken seriously. And it is unclear when the city would be exploring a declaration of this nature.
Here is part of the manifesto:
“We, members of the global nighttime community, seek a safer, more resilient and sustainable nighttime. Driven by a calling for our creative pursuits and responsibility towards our communities and spaces, we commit to fostering a nightlife culture that we can be proud of——and for nightlife to continue being impactful for individuals, communities, scenes, and cities in the future.
Two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, 120 of us — visionaries from nightlife communities around the world — came together to share our aspirations for the future of nightlife and the road we commit to taking us there.”
Rise Up一A Nighttime Manifesto!
Nightlife is more than just partying and having a good time. Nightlife is culture. Nightlife drives new, transformative realities for people and places. Nightlife is built by the people, for the people. https://t.co/JbOCPBJNzS pic.twitter.com/zy6pJ1SNDO
— VibeLab (@VibeLabNetwork) September 23, 2022
The night economy represents the social, cultural and business activities that occur from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
City councillor Paul Ainslie is the official “Night Economy Champion” for Toronto and is promoting the Nighttime Manifesto.
“As the Night Economy Champion, I am working with Economic Development and Culture to ensure the City of Toronto fulfills its mandate to modernize and clarify the rules to provide flexibility and support for businesses, while ensuring an appropriate level of regulatory oversight to mitigate any potential community nuisance and public safety issues,” he wrote, in a letter to the committee ahead of the meeting.
“As we move the directive forward, it is important that the City of Toronto join other cities worldwide in signing the Nighttime Manifesto, symbolizing a global commitment to raising the awareness around the importance of nightlife. Some of the supporting cities include, Antwerp, Bangkok, Belfast, Berlin, Durban, Johannesburg, Mälmo, Montreal, New York, São Paulo, and Singapore.”
Clubby manifesto aside, the movement by the city to enhance and grow the night economy is proceeding.
For the past week, the city solicited input from residents, industry professionals, business owners and cultural event producers intending to do the following:
- Develop recommendations for a vibrant and inclusive night economy, which includes support for Toronto’s cultural, live music, and entertainment industries
- Create strategies that promote safe, healthy and sustainable communities for residents and businesses
- Update licensing categories and requirements for bars, restaurants and entertainment venues – including nightclubs and live music venues
- Change zoning regulations that define where and under what conditions these businesses can operate in Toronto
“Toronto is a city that runs 24/7. We have bars, restaurants and entertainment venues that operate past midnight,” said Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie. “Toronto’s Night Economy Review is important to ensure we support the night economy with modernized regulations that meet the needs of businesses, while at the same time ensuring Toronto after dark is safe, accessible, vibrant, and inclusive.”
Other cities across Canada such as Vancouver and Edmonton have also embarked on night economy strategy sessions.
Recommendations from city staff are scheduled to be delivered this fall. For more information on the night economy review go here.