After 18 years in business, the Guvernment/Kool Haus Entertainment Complex closed its doors this past Sunday. Considered Toronto’s only real nightclub, The Guvernment hosted some of the biggest musical acts in the world during its reign. Some of the most famous shows have included Coldplay, The Black Keys, Oasis, Nine Inch Nails, and David Bowie. But if you were a Guvernment regular you know that the club was most famous for its EDM parties.
Electronic dance music has been steadily growing in popularity in the last decade, and The Guvernment has made itself a must-play venue for the biggest DJ’s in the industry. Acts like Armin Van Buuren, Knife Party, Nicky Romero, David Guetta, and Toronto’s own DeadMau5 were regulars, while their resident DJs Manzone & Strong and Mark Oliver made sure every Saturday was a huge party.
EDM music is really all about the rave vibe where the party doesn’t stop until the sun comes up and The Guv got in on that too. The club was well known for its annual “full complex” events that included all 7 rooms of the venue. Events like Labour of Love, and Decadence featured international acts playing in different themed rooms, and the music kept going until 7am.
Just like any nightclub, The Guvernment had its share of violence and drug related incidents. A bouncer was shot and killed in 2000, and multiple other people have been injured by gunfire in the club over the years. Although the security is tight (especially during raves), drugs are a huge part of the EDM scene. Ecstasy, MDMA, cocaine, and anything else with a euphoric, energy boosting effect would have been seen floating around The Guv at some point.
The entire complex was purchased by condo developers in 2014, and demolition is set to begin any day now. So, what is going to happen to the Toronto EDM scene? There are always big all-ages shows at the Rogers Centre, and smaller shows at clubs like Uniun. Former Guv owner, Charles Khabouth hopes to open an even larger venue, but realizes the possibilities of doing that in the downtown core are pretty slim.
The Guvernment opened in 1997, after the club formerly occupying the space, RPM, closed down. The 60,000 square foot space takes up a whole city block, and is right on the waterfront, making it a lucrative piece of property for condo developers. The end of one of Toronto’s most popular, and Canada’s longest running, clubs in favour of condos could signal a drop in the EDM talent Toronto is able to attract. Or maybe a shift back to smaller, more intimate venues is in the cards.
Either way, the parties at The Guv were unforgettable, and its too bad the wrecking ball will mark the end of an era in just a few short weeks. Fittingly, the last DJ to take the stage was DeadMau5, who got his start at The Guv. Where will the next big Toronto DJ make his debut? Only time will tell.