Toronto residents complain of sleepless nights after alleged nightclub opens in their condo building
Toronto residents complain of sleepless nights after alleged nightclub opens in their condo building
Residents living in Toronto’s west end say they have been left utterly exhausted after an alleged nightclub opened up at the base of their condominium.
Loud music, a thumping bass and sound vibrations are just three of the top complaints some residents of 801 King Street West, located near Niagara Street, have made to bylaw officials over the last few weeks. They say that in June a new establishment opened up in a commercial space on the street level of their building, and that a few times a week they are subjected to sleepless nights as a result.
Bei Sun has lived on the third floor of 801 King Street for about 10 years. She said she never had any problems with noise until a few months ago, when all of a sudden loud music started blasting at 1 a.m.
“I heard those kinds of heavy dances and the electrical vibration,” Sun told CTV News Toronto. “My window, I heard some noise, so I call the security they told me there is a bar downstairs they are opening.”
Sun said the loud music continued week by week, making it nearly impossible to fall asleep. As an employee at a long-term care home, she often works on the weekend, the same nights the establishment is open.
“I cannot get a rest,” she said, adding that she has had to call in sick because of the lack of sleep.
“It's those music heavy basses, it's going to your mind, into your heart. It makes you hyper. You cannot sleep at the middle of night.”
Sun is one of multiple residents who have called 311 and had bylaw officers come to her unit to measure the noise. But so far, no action has been taken.
The establishment located at the bottom of the condominium is called Hyde Social. Their website has conflicting hours of operation, with one area promoting a happy hour Monday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., while also saying on the same website that they are open Wednesday through to Saturday between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.
Their Instagram account also says they are open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while also promoting bottle service and guest lists. Video shows large groups of people dancing and doing shots while DJs play music in the background.
In response to CTV News Toronto’s inquiry, a spokesperson for Hyde Social said the business operates as a licenced restaurant and bar, with a full kitchen serving food and beverages.
“We strive to be good neighbours and as such when we were made aware of the concerns as to noise, we hired an accredited sound company that completed a full analysis of our operations. It was confirmed that our operations are within the prescribed permissible noise levels as per the City By-Laws,” they said.
“We are also in touch with City By-law officers to discuss the matter and will be working with them to ensure that we are in compliance with all By-Laws.”
Angeline Putnickovich had bought a unit at 801 King Street with her sister in May. At the time, the space where Hyde Social now occupies was boarded up and her real estate agent said they were unsure what was going into the space, but that it could potentially be a restaurant.
She told CTV News Toronto she was “gutted” when she spent her first night in the condo on Canada Day and was kept awake by blaring music.
“It was truly like I was in the nightclub,” Putnickovich said, adding that it wasn’t just the music but the sound of an air horn blaring and the heavy base that shook her second-floor unit.
“There's no way anyone could sleep through this,” she said. “If it's like this every weekend or even … especially Wednesday, Thursday throughout the workweek. I'm don’t know what I’m going to do.”
The City of Toronto has confirmed it has received three complaints about Hyde Social in June 2022 and “is investigating to determine if they have the appropriate business licence.”
“This is an active investigation and we are unable to provide more information at this moment,” a spokesperson said in an email.
The business has an “eating establishment” licence, according to a business licence lookup search.
An eating establishment is vastly considered to be a restaurant, café, bar, or pub with seating for patrons. A nightclub or entertainment establishment is defined as a premise in which there is a dance facility for patrons and where seating is not provided for most customers. Food or beverage is offered “as an ancillary use.”
Joe Mihevc, the city councillor for Spadina-Fort York, told CTV News Toronto he is unclear whether zoning rules allow for a nightclub to be on the street level of a condominium board, but that there are requirements in terms of noise and overall behaviour when within a residential area.
He urged residents to continue to contact 311 with any concerns or complaints, as that is the only real avenue available to them from a city perspective. However, he also acknowledged that bylaw enforcement of complaints is a much slower process than a process involving the breaking of a criminal law.
“Before they initiate prosecution, if they decide to go into court, they need to develop a file,” he said. “They also try to work with the property or property owner, whatever the case may be, to rectify the situation.”
“what we really want is that people who operate businesses succeed and do it in a good manner.”
“We are not out to close the business down, we’re out to make sure that they are obeying all the bylaws, so we would give them time to rectify it.”
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Toronto real estate lawyer Bob Aaron suggests that tenants of the condominium band together and take other legal action through their board of directors.
“They can issue a demand that the music stop at 1 a.m. because there’s an obligation for peace and quiet in the building,” he said.
“I think the condo board has a lot of power and the city has a lot of power, which they may or may not be using, and I think the law is on the side with the residents.”
NO NIGHTCLUB NOISE
Sabrina, another resident of 801 King Street West, is part of a group called No Nightclub Noise, which was formed in response to another business in the area they say is also causing sleepless nights and anxiety. The group started a petition after months of trying to deal with the establishment through city channels such as calling 311 or reaching out to their local councillor.
“There's obviously the noise of living on King Street, the street cars, the traffic etc. But I've never had any issues with nightclub noise until February 25 of this year,” Sabrina said.
It was at that time that Pizza Wine Disco opened at 788 King Street West. The residents allege it is a nightclub “masquerading” as a restaurant. They have complained about loud music blasting until 3 a.m., large groups of people flooding the streets and patrons who regularly encroach onto nearby properties to urinate.
Sabrina has lived at 801 King Street for about 15 years and said she never had a problem with the area before now, even when a pub was open in the spot currently being used by Hyde Social.
“It's not just affecting our building. It's affecting multiple buildings in the neighborhood,” she said.
Videos in which Pizza Wine Disco is tagged, posted to Instagram and TikTok, shows a crowded bar with people dancing on tabletops, as well as patrons sitting enjoying pizza and drinks. They also have a “nightlife” specific website in which guests can request bottle service.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Pizza Wine Disco (PWD) said that they have never used a DJ and has never played music outside of its operating hours, which operate 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. between Thursdays and Saturdays.
“The City of Toronto has confirmed that PWD is in compliance with all municipal bylaws including those relating to noise levels. Our staff routinely and frequently conducts decibel readings and we have installed noise limiters on the sound system to ensure continued compliance,” they said.
“The fact that PWD is a stand-alone building means that we are able to effectively monitor and control the volume emanating from the premises. We also have a substantial security presence and increased signage outside to ensure that patrons do not cause excessive noise when entering or exiting the establishment.”
The spokesperson insisted that PWD is “not a nightclub” and that it “does not have a dancefloor or guest list and does not charge a “cover/entrance fee”.
“PWD has gone above and beyond to solidify itself as a productive and respectful member of the community. The vast majority of our neighbours happily support our operations and have become regular customers.”
Farat Farrokhi lives in a townhouse right beside PWD, and says he is now considering moving because of the stress the situation is causing him. He has lived in the area for nine years and told CTV News Toronto that the back lane of the restaurant is right beside his bedroom. He said that he hears loud music and that after closing, patrons tend to stick around, talking loudly and urinating or vomiting on his property.
He has been complaining to 311 and reaching out to various politicians in all levels of government, but when Hyde Social moved into the area he had enough.
“I have an appointment with my realtor tomorrow. I am just thinking of leaving. And it's not a good time for me to do that,” he said.
And he isn’t the only one. Sabrina is also considering leaving the neighbourhood she used to love.
“Bylaws, the tools that we have to that are supposed to protect us, they really are very biased towards the business,” she said. “There's nothing in them that actually gives us any kind of leverage to fight the fact that there was a nightclub in a residential building, in a residential area.”
“It's a sad awakening.”
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