City deems the Hearn unsafe for events as Waterfront Night Market nears

Officials warn against "serious deficiencies and breaches" of fire code


Earlier this year, the Waterfront Night Market stoked some major excitement by announcing a massive new location: The Hearn Generating Station (440 Unwin), also known as the home of last year’s Luminato festival. But Toronto Fire Services has put something of a damper on their plans, issuing a statement Thursday expressing their doubts with the fire safety measures in place at the venue.

“Without necessary life safety provisions, there are serious deficiencies and breaches of the Ontario Fire Code at the Hearn Power Generating Station should the interior of the building be used for public events,” the statement reads. “This includes the Waterfront Night Market scheduled to begin tomorrow, Friday August 11, for which there is no approved occupancy plan.”

Toronto Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop added that the space is not equipped with fire alarm systems, proper lighting or fire exits.

“Until corrective actions have been taken, however, the interior of the building cannot be utilized for public events,” the statement reads.

So, what does this mean for the thousands of people expected to seek out their stinky tofu fix at the Waterfront Night Market this weekend? According to the event’s organizers, there’s no reason for them to worry.

“The show’s still going on – just no use of the indoor space, which was only a small component of the show,” says Kevin M. Yee, the director of operations for the market’s organizers, X-Caliber, in an email to NOW.

Though the event originally promised “350,000 square feet of excitement” indoors and outdoors at the Hearn, Yee confirmed that the food midway, featuring 150 food vendors, will be located outside the Hearn’s structure, and will therefore be unaffected.

In the meantime, Toronto Fire Services says they have begun working with the Hearn’s leaseholders, Studios of America, to ensure the necessary safety measures are put in place. 

nataliam@nowtoronto.com | @nataliamanzocco

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