Kensington Market music venue The Boat says goodbye

A Portuguese restaurant since 1976, the bar has thrived since the mid-2000s as a kitschy party spot and live music venue

Another Toronto music venue is closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Boat has existed as a Portuguese restaurant and event venue since 1976, but got taken up by the music community in the mid-2000s. Since then, the Kensington Market nautical-themed venue was a kitschy spot for DJ parties and live music, playing host to everything from Owen Pallett (then Final Fantasy) to Arkells to community-minded music festivals like Pitter Patter Music Fest and Wavelength.

Over the years, celebrities like Dan Levy, Rachel McAdams, Ronnie Wood and Dan Aykroyd have been spotted on the dancefloor.

The bar had actually reopened for 50-person queer events and open mic nights when Toronto was in Stage 3 this summer, but it’s thrown in the towel with the latest lockdown.

Since 1976, The Boat has thrived as a Portuguese restaurant, karaoke bar, live music venue, event space and one of the…

Posted by The Boat in Kensington Market on Monday, November 23, 2020

“It is with extreme sadness that we are saying goodbye to this amazing community,” they wrote on Facebook. “Like so many other venues before us, we had done our best to survive this pandemic. We had the best landlord that worked with us through these unforeseen times; but we are unsure what the future will bring for this industry. 

“We cannot thank everyone enough for all your support over the years. To everyone who has ever eaten here, jammed here, DJ’ed here, hosted a birthday party here, danced the night away here, met up with friends for a drink here, we want to say CHEERS ? to you.”

The Boat is one of many music venues calling it quits amidst the pandemic. Like the Mod Club, which also recently closed, it was one of the venues receiving tax relief from the city. But it clearly wasn’t enough.

Kensington Market, especially, has been facing a crisis of closing businesses.

On Augusta, The Boat was next door to Krudar Muy Thai and fellow music and party spot Round Venue, both of which were abruptly locked out by their landlord earlier this month.

Just yesterday, the bar Cold Tea also announced it was shutting down its Kensington location.


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