The beloved music venue Hugh’s Room Live has signed an agreement to buy a Toronto property to call its new home as it continues to raise money in order to close the deal.
After months of negotiations, the board of directors has landed on a deal to buy the Broadview Faith Temple Church in Toronto’s east end, giving hope that the venue will eventually be able to welcome musicians and fans to its new, permanent home.
Hugh’s Room Live has already raised more than $500,000 in donations and loans from its supporters.
Last month, Toronto city council approved a loan guarantee of up to $2.2 million for the not-for-profit arts organization.
But the venue still needs to raise another $2 million over the next four months in order to complete the purchase on June 30.
“With our new home, musicians and audiences can enjoy being together again. We can start living our dream of presenting great artists and becoming both a musical resource for artists and a music-focused community centre for our many communities,” chairman Brian Iler wrote in an appeal to supporters and patrons. “We hear from artists that ours is one of the most inclusive and intimate stages they know, and with this building, we have an opportunity to make our audience spaces and our outreach just as inclusive.”
Hugh’s Room Live has been searching for a permanent home since March of 2020, when a rent hike forced the venue out of its previous location on Dundas Street West, which it called home for 20 years.
Those who wish to support Hugh’s Room Live can make a donation online at Canada Helps, or by cheque or e-transfer. Funds donated specifically for the purchase of the new property will be placed in trust; if the venue is unable to close the deal, the donation will be refunded.
Hugh’s Room Live has also applied for a grant through Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. The board of directors is asking people to write to their local MP and the Minister of Canadian Heritage to express their support.
“Everyone knows Hugh’s Room Live needs to own its own home so Toronto rents don’t close it down again — because the next time would probably be permanent,” Iler said. “More than 200 rehearsal spaces and venues have already disappeared over the past few years, and the [Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area] is in danger of losing its identity as a place of great music.”