Home > Contemplations > Toronto’s EDM Ban. My Take On It.

Toronto’s EDM Ban. My Take On It.


The 2014 Toronto “EDM Ban” was unexpected.

Electronic Dance Music events were banned on City of Toronto property at Exhibition Grounds. This was effective immediately.

This meant that shows which were already planned and contracts which the city had already signed with private businesses were null and void on the whim of the “Board of Governors of Exhibition Place,” a committee of 9 people made up of a “Mayor’s Designate,” 4 City of Toronto Council Members, and 4 “Public Appointments.” Even a show which was planned for less than 2 weeks after the meeting which made this ban happened was victim to it. The show had to be moved and it was.

Eventually, the City of Toronto City Council got together and checked if they could legally overturn this ban (they could) and vote on if they should overturn the ban (and they did). Tonight, there was another discussion about the ban because the Board of Governors decided to have a “public consultation” about it. Only one thing, they didn’t really invite the public.

I found out about this taking place at about 3:30pm today, less than 3 hours before it happened.

exhibition board of governers public consultation meeting June 2014

When I was asked why I didn’t attend to make my voice heard I informed them that I had no knowledge of this event occurring until it was way too late and if the City Councilor who is involved in this discussion truly wanted to bring the community of people who listen to dance music and attend these events in they could have done a lot better job of making this meeting known. Someone else replied that the councilor’s local newsletter email and the councilor tweeting about it was sufficient. I said how about going to the venues where the events take place weekly and handing out flyers or putting up signs? Most efficient and direct way to reach the community I’d say.

According to the Councilor he sent out a “ton of emails”  about it:

Strangely enough, none of those emails seemed to have reached the Toronto Star (link goes to search results for Exhibition Place), the National Post, the Toronto Sun, CP24, 680news, or DJ Mag Canada. I could continue looking to see if anyone actually received these emails who reported on the issue in the first place back in April-May but it seems that no one did until it became a story this morning when a City Councilor called the residents of Parkdale pedophiles on Twitter. (Yes, I am serious.)

When I voiced this displeasure with regard to attempting to let the community know I was asked if I would write to City Council my thoughts on the matter. At first I said no because from what I can tell it would be a waste of my time, energy, and breath but the conversations continue to happen so fine, I will write down my thoughts.

In terms of the “EDM Ban” on City of Toronto property at Exhibitions Place I think a couple of things:

– 1 – The ban itself contradicted a recommendation by Toronto Public Health from more than a decade ago that the city lease property for large dance parties, specifically to prevent “problem conditions” at underground raves after the death of a university student. They researched this specific thing years ago and found out people in their late teens and early twenties were making bad decisions at these parties – as we do at that agee – and when the parties were held “underground” there was no support staff on hand to help prevent loss of life.

– 2 – The ban came into existence immediately with no regard for pre-existing contracts to hold events on the Ex grounds. An event had to be moved with little more than a week to re-plan everything, offer refunds, make new plans, etc all because some sub-council of the city council changed the law effective immediately.

This is a way larger issue than just banning concerts, that is the city negotiating contracts in bad faith. What business would ever want to enter into a contract with the city if they can’t trust that the city will change its mind on a whim and screw over months of negotiations and planning? Why would Hollywood continue to film up here in Toronto if they have to worry that one day some council member or sub-council will decide to make filming downtown illegal and all the contracts they’ve signed, permits they’ve filmed out, and talent/accommodation bookings they’ve made are for naught? If I were planning a major event or movie shoot or something of the like I would want to steer clear of Toronto…because I clearly can’t trust anything anyone in the Toronto government signs. (I am not a lawyer but I am pretty sure the city also opens itself to lawsuits for breach of contract when they pull a stunt like this.)

– 3 – I don’t care about the ban. I really don’t. I think the city is stupid for banning a genre of music from their venues because, quite frankly, there are enough other private venues in the city for these events to happen. The city is just losing out on money to be had from permits and rentals for these events and in a cash strapped city like Toronto that is something we cannot afford to do.

– 4 – This ban made international news at a time when the city of Toronto is already an international laughingstock for its crack smoking mayor. You’d think Toronto’s City Council would want to hang its head low and not kick up any more attention to itself but apparently that isn’t the case. Good job, elected officials of Toronto!

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