Steven Biasutti is as calm as can be, even though he’s just days away from the opening of the new venue History in Toronto’s Beaches area. The general manager has had to roll with the punches and cancel some shows when the Ontario government wasn’t lifting the covid capacity restrictions on general admission /standing venues. But last night (Nov. 7), with 100% capacity a go, American band Bleachers opened the 2500-capacity club, owned by Live Nation in partnership with Drake.
“With the Province announcing new things every week, we were always hoping that we are at the front of the line. Unfortunately, we weren't lucky enough to be at the front of the line in the beginning of all the lifting of the restrictions. But now we finally got the go-ahead,” said Biasutti, during a tour of the venue. “Yeah, there's been challenges, but we've gotten through them and now our eye is on the prize and we can't wait to have a sold-out show. We were hoping it would be earlier, but we're happy with November 7th.”
The 35,000-square-foot space with a 22 x 40-foot stage is on Queen Street East, taking over the majority of Champions Off-Track Betting Greenwood, and will bring some much-needed business to the area, especially during the winter months when there is not as much foot traffic. Parking is available in their 300-space lot and offered at a $5 discount when purchasing an event ticket.
“There's room for all club venues,” says Biasutti. “The way that rents are going downtown, a lot of venues are being pushed out. We've seen a lot of loss of live music venues. We're happy to be able to add to Toronto's portfolio versus having them losing venues. The live music industry will be that much better for it with History opening its doors.”
Among the amenities at History are multiple VIP areas, including a north floor box, south floor box, mezzanine front row seats, and 10 box suites, all ticketed seats, not corporate boxes. The Food Dudes provide the table service finger food menu and general admission patrons can grab Blondies Pizza from the bar. For the artist, dressing rooms have been decorated with comfort, style and convenience, including televisions, fridges, bathroom with shower, and the lounges look more like a modern condo living room. “Any artist would love to be hanging out in here pre show or post show,” says Biasutti.
History, which does offer live streaming and recording, did not alter its specs during the pandemic, the way many venues added live streaming to adapt.
“From what I understand the design has been steady throughout the entire process,” says Biasutti. “We're happy that all the other Toronto venues have improved, that they made it through the pandemic, that they're ready to open their doors. We're certainly the frontrunner in the club level, but in terms of all the other venues of lower capacity or similar capacity, we're happy to be in their company and just to be a great addition.”
Biasutti also held a town hall for concerned local citizens about construction, noise, traffic and parking. “Anyone that's reached out, I’ve addressed in person. I've given out my cell phone number to members of the community with all kinds of different concerns. The key is don't put our heads in the sand, deal with the issues. Once we open, I'm sure there will be concerns and we can address them, but overall we have overwhelming support from the community.”
Partial List of Upcoming Concerts
November 11 - Thundercat with Channel Tres
November 12 - Deadbeats with Zeds Dead and Guests
November 13 - Deadbeats with Zeds Dead and Guests
November 16 - Jack Harlow Crème de la Crème Tour with Babyface Ray and Mavi
November 18 - Teyana Taylor: The Last Rose Petal...Farewell Tour
November 24 - CHVRCHES
December 4 - Big Wreck & Monster Truck
December 8 – INDIE88’s 8th Birthday Party with Glorious Sons & JJ Wilde
December 9 - July Talk: Live At Last
December 10 - July Talk: Live At Last
December 12 - Silverstein: 20 Year Anniversary Tour
December 17 - USS - Final Freakquency Tour
December 18 - USS - Final Freakquency Tour
December 22 - BADBADNOTGOOD Talk Memory Tour
December 28 - Duke Dumont
December 29 - Kaytranada - Autumn '21 Tour