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Old 01-20-2006, 10:04 AM   #1
crashman
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 25
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New 'exclusive' hangout for Toronto's elite
Latest hangout for city's elite costs a cool $10,000

But is star lineup three decadesbehind the times?
Jan. 20, 2006. 05:21 AM
GREG QUILL
ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST


Toronto just got a little more exclusive — and for those who love the high life, a lot more expensive.

For as little as $10,000 per person — or as much as $40,000 for a corporation — the city's elite can, if they pass muster, join the Dominion Club, the highest-priced private members' enclave in the downtown core.

Owned and overseen by Toronto condo and real estate mogul Harry Stinson, the Dominion offers what the National Club, the Ontario Club, the Granite Club, Verity, the Spoke Club and other high-priced and long-standing private members' clubs provide: world-class dining facilities; carte-blanche access to concerts, spas, sports, health, travel and concierge services; offices; screening and meeting rooms; and the company of people of similar stripe, age, economic level, political persuasion and intellectual vigour.

But the Dominion Club offers more: a grand concert/cabaret supper club in what was once the lobby of a 1912 bank building on the corner of Yonge St. and King St. W. — now converted to luxury condominiums and suites under the name One King West — to draw stars the likes of whom haven't been seen in Toronto since the glory days of the Imperial Room at the Royal York hotel. And that might not be exactly what the club's 35- to 50-year-old target membership is hoping to get for the $10,000 entry fee.

Toronto's entertainment industry movers and shakers are saying the vintage roster — Ronnie Hawkins, Paul Anka, Joan Rivers, Eartha Kitt, Andr้ Philippe Gagnon and Bill Cosby are already locked in — is 30 years behind the times. Exclusive or not.

The Dominion Club's entertainment, which is booked and promoted by former Imperial Room impresario and well-known Toronto publicity guru Gino Empry, kicked off last night with Canadian folk music legend Gordon Lightfoot. Only members or residents and their guests got to buy tickets for his sold-out performances through tomorrow — at $175 a head. Buffet dinner of roast beef and veg, chicken in mushroom sauce and store-bought fruit flan and cheesecake is included, of course.

At one end of a massive vaulted chamber with a 15-metre high, ornately gilded ceiling and towering marble arches, Lightfoot and his band picked their way quietly through a set of lesser hits for a polite, well-heeled audience of 300, most of them in their 50s and older. Everyone, performers included, seemed underwhelmed by their impressive surroundings.

Veteran entertainment booker Empry is also hoping to present The Village People, Woody Allen, Sandra Bernhard, Leonard Cohen, Jack Jones and former U.S. president Bill Clinton in the ultra-exclusive, ultra-chic bo๎te, which Stinson had originally wanted to turn into a theatre "till the economic realities of live theatre" were explained to him, he says.

"I think we're sophisticated enough," says Empry, who scheduled top-rung cabaret stars in the Imperial Room for 20 years until the early 1990s. "We're determined to make it work. Entertainers love supper clubs. It's a comfortable environment for them. They can see the faces in the audience and hear the response."

While Empry's idea of sophisticated entertainment might differ from Stinson's — "We're not entirely in agreement on his list of acts, there are generational differences that have to be resolved," says the millionaire developer — Toronto hasn't seen anything like the Dominion Club before. It's based on Donald Trump's Florida pile Mar-a-Logo, "an enormous white castle that he turned into a private club because it couldn't be condo-ized," Stinson says.

Membership in the Dominion Club is free to the owners and lessees of the 572 suites and condos in Stinson's extravagant residential development, One King West, and restricted to 3,000 "outsiders" who come up with the $10,000 joining fee, plus $50 a month, Stinson says.

"There are no codes, no checks, no meetings with a membership committee. Members must pay their bills and not be loud or obnoxious; otherwise they will be asked to resign and their membership fees will be refunded. The only rule is no cellphones in the dining room. That's not too exclusive."

The $15 million Stinson hopes to raise from club fees will be used to continue restoration on the historic building, "as well as for infrastructure, and to pay my partner (Toronto theatre mogul David Mirvish) for his share of the real estate."

"This is a labour of love, an enormous piece of art that will enhance the city and add to the upscale quality of life here."
Additional articles by Greg Quill
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:04 AM   #2
char
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Toronto,Ontario-CANADA
Posts: 267
Default

New 'exclusive' hangout for Toronto's elite
Latest hangout for city's elite costs a cool $10,000

But is star lineup three decadesbehind the times?
Jan. 20, 2006. 05:21 AM
GREG QUILL
ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST


Toronto just got a little more exclusive — and for those who love the high life, a lot more expensive.

For as little as $10,000 per person — or as much as $40,000 for a corporation — the city's elite can, if they pass muster, join the Dominion Club, the highest-priced private members' enclave in the downtown core.

Owned and overseen by Toronto condo and real estate mogul Harry Stinson, the Dominion offers what the National Club, the Ontario Club, the Granite Club, Verity, the Spoke Club and other high-priced and long-standing private members' clubs provide: world-class dining facilities; carte-blanche access to concerts, spas, sports, health, travel and concierge services; offices; screening and meeting rooms; and the company of people of similar stripe, age, economic level, political persuasion and intellectual vigour.

But the Dominion Club offers more: a grand concert/cabaret supper club in what was once the lobby of a 1912 bank building on the corner of Yonge St. and King St. W. — now converted to luxury condominiums and suites under the name One King West — to draw stars the likes of whom haven't been seen in Toronto since the glory days of the Imperial Room at the Royal York hotel. And that might not be exactly what the club's 35- to 50-year-old target membership is hoping to get for the $10,000 entry fee.

Toronto's entertainment industry movers and shakers are saying the vintage roster — Ronnie Hawkins, Paul Anka, Joan Rivers, Eartha Kitt, Andr้ Philippe Gagnon and Bill Cosby are already locked in — is 30 years behind the times. Exclusive or not.

The Dominion Club's entertainment, which is booked and promoted by former Imperial Room impresario and well-known Toronto publicity guru Gino Empry, kicked off last night with Canadian folk music legend Gordon Lightfoot. Only members or residents and their guests got to buy tickets for his sold-out performances through tomorrow — at $175 a head. Buffet dinner of roast beef and veg, chicken in mushroom sauce and store-bought fruit flan and cheesecake is included, of course.

At one end of a massive vaulted chamber with a 15-metre high, ornately gilded ceiling and towering marble arches, Lightfoot and his band picked their way quietly through a set of lesser hits for a polite, well-heeled audience of 300, most of them in their 50s and older. Everyone, performers included, seemed underwhelmed by their impressive surroundings.

Veteran entertainment booker Empry is also hoping to present The Village People, Woody Allen, Sandra Bernhard, Leonard Cohen, Jack Jones and former U.S. president Bill Clinton in the ultra-exclusive, ultra-chic bo๎te, which Stinson had originally wanted to turn into a theatre "till the economic realities of live theatre" were explained to him, he says.

"I think we're sophisticated enough," says Empry, who scheduled top-rung cabaret stars in the Imperial Room for 20 years until the early 1990s. "We're determined to make it work. Entertainers love supper clubs. It's a comfortable environment for them. They can see the faces in the audience and hear the response."

While Empry's idea of sophisticated entertainment might differ from Stinson's — "We're not entirely in agreement on his list of acts, there are generational differences that have to be resolved," says the millionaire developer — Toronto hasn't seen anything like the Dominion Club before. It's based on Donald Trump's Florida pile Mar-a-Logo, "an enormous white castle that he turned into a private club because it couldn't be condo-ized," Stinson says.

Membership in the Dominion Club is free to the owners and lessees of the 572 suites and condos in Stinson's extravagant residential development, One King West, and restricted to 3,000 "outsiders" who come up with the $10,000 joining fee, plus $50 a month, Stinson says.

"There are no codes, no checks, no meetings with a membership committee. Members must pay their bills and not be loud or obnoxious; otherwise they will be asked to resign and their membership fees will be refunded. The only rule is no cellphones in the dining room. That's not too exclusive."

The $15 million Stinson hopes to raise from club fees will be used to continue restoration on the historic building, "as well as for infrastructure, and to pay my partner (Toronto theatre mogul David Mirvish) for his share of the real estate."

"This is a labour of love, an enormous piece of art that will enhance the city and add to the upscale quality of life here."
Additional articles by Greg Quill
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