Toronto Club that Played Queer as Folk's Babylon Is Closing
By Neal Broverman
The last gay dance club in Toronto’s gay village, and the disco that portrayed "Babylon” on Showtime’s Queer as Folk, is closing in June after the World Pride celebration.
Fly has operated on Gloucester Street for 15 years, but is being eyed by developers as the site of a future high-rise. While construction on the condo tower is not imminent, the building’s owner only offered to renew Fly’s lease on a yearly basis; owner Keir McRae said that wasn’t realistic. Hopes for another promoter to take over the club have not panned out.
Fly’s adjacent restaurant and bar, Fire on the East Side, has already shuttered. When Fly closes on June 30 following the global World Pride party, it will be the last large dance club in Toronto’s gayborhood. The city passed a law a decade ago that limits most dance clubs to a small district outside the gay village.
“The city’s not doing a whole lot to protect gay businesses — sometimes actively discouraging them, especially dance clubs,” MacRae told Xtra! “Dance clubs have always been a significant part of gay culture, and the city is not allowing gay dance clubs in the Village.”
Fly, along with a now-defunct club called Five, portrayed the Pittsburgh super-club "Babylon" on the Showtime gay soap Queer as Folk.
Is assimilation behind the closure of big-city gay clubs or is it something else, e.g., greedy developers? gentrification? Share your thoughts in the comments.