MAKING HISTORY: An inside look at Drake’s new Toronto music venue

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Drake and Live Nation Canada are finally making History.

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The world-famous Toronto rapper and the country’s largest music promoter have collaborated on History, a brand-new 2,500-capacity, 35,000-square foot venue in the city’s east-end Beaches neighbourhood at Queen East and Kingston Road that expects to book 200 acts a year.

“What better ambassador to Toronto than Drake?” said History’s general manager Steven Biasutti during a media tour of the Live Nation-owned club on Thursday.

“There’s been a huge buzz about it. Through COVID there’s been some tough times, live music was at a standstill. But now we’re so proud to be able to open this up and show Toronto what History is all about.”

It took three years to build with some COVID-19 delays.

The overall idea, Biasutti says, is to have “club-level artists experience what it would be like to play in a high-volume arena.”

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Why call it History?

“When Drake was coming up in the city, there was a party he always wanted to get into, in the city, that he just couldn’t make it in, and the party was called History,” said Biasutti. “So he figured, how fitting, to be able to welcome artists from all over the world to this venue and he can host them now.”

History’s official opening is Sunday (Nov. 7) with the inaugural sold-out show by American indie pop act Bleachers fronted by producer-songwriter Jack Antonoff (Taylor Swift, Lorde).

Drake and Live Nation’s History, a brand-new 2,500-capacity, 35,000-square foot venue in the city’s east-end Beaches neighbourhood at Queen East and Kingston Road, open on Sunday. JACK BOLAND/TORONTO SUN
Drake and Live Nation’s History, a brand-new 2,500-capacity, 35,000-square foot venue in the city’s east-end Beaches neighbourhood at Queen East and Kingston Road, open on Sunday. JACK BOLAND/TORONTO SUN

Biasutti didn’t know when Drake might make an appearance or perform an actual show but he could pop up anytime.

“Of course we’d love him to come visit us whenever he’s in town to be able to see what he and Live Nation have created,” Biasutti said of Drizzy, who had a say in the designs of the artist backstage and performance areas.

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Once inside History, the first thing (after you pass through metal detectors) that captures your attention is a large blue H on the club’s “focal wall.”

“This is the TikTok moment, this is the Instagrammable moment for fans,” said Biasutti.

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There are two merchandise stations, four bars (including one VIP), accessibility elevators and seating areas, and a seven by 12-metre (22 by 40-foot) stage with a permanent LED wall.

As for where Drizzy might hang out, there is the 38-person capacity north VIP area (that is stage left) on the main level with seats, its own private bar, table service, private washrooms and doorway to the street.

On the second floor, there is 55 theatre seats and 10 enclosed box suites (with table service ) and more general admission standing and on the north platform.

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American indie pop act Bleachers fronted by producer-songwriter Jack Antonoff will be the first act to play at end-end club History. JACK BOLAND/TORONTO SUN
American indie pop act Bleachers fronted by producer-songwriter Jack Antonoff will be the first act to play at end-end club History. JACK BOLAND/TORONTO SUN

A staircase will take artists directly from their tour buses to three deluxe green rooms with TVs, fridges and washrooms with lyrics from various Canadian acts painted on each step (of course, Drake’s “Started from the bottom, now we’re here,” lyrics makes the cut).

The main level GA area, which can have seats installed for speaking engagements or standup comedy acts, has both a floor and raised level so you can move up for better sightlines.

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Although outside of the city’s downtown core, the club is directly on the Queen streetcar line and has 300 parking spaces behind it in a designated parking lot.

As for the metal detectors, Biasutti said: “It is rare. Our fans and staff safety is paramount so that’s why we brought them in.”

Still to come outdoors on the sleek-looking marble and metal building is a marquee with the name of the club and the big H logo.

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