The Matador Club at College and Dovercourt in Toronto had a long-standing reputation as an after hours honky-tonk beloved by the cities’ most revved music fans. When it closed its doors in 2007 its faithful patrons were devastated. Rumours about the space being made into a parking lot, or rebuilt as a shinny new condominium development circulated from even the shrewdest journalistic publications.
But not so quick. Paul McCaughey, The Matador’s current owner, has bigger plans for the space.
“It is a part of Toronto not destined to become a parking lot. The Matador should remain with us to remind us of Toronto’s storied past and its even brighter future.” said McCaughey. “I love Toronto because it is a canvas and stage upon which new and old comers paint, play and create their own niches in Canadian business and culture. The Matador is both the metaphor and reality for what is best about Toronto in my mind.”
On Thursday November 6th , 2014 a selection of some of Toronto’s most influential contributors from the arts, events and music communities were delighted to experience an evening at The Matador Club. For the first time since 2007 The Matador’s doors were opened to receive guests – for one very specific reason – re-branding.
Working in collaboration with Distility, a Toronto based Branding Company, McCaughey has set out to reimagine The Matador brand and space. Guests were invited to partake in an evening of live music, food and libations – which included a sneak peek tour. In return guests were asked to provide their feedback about the future of The Matador brand.
“We’re really happy that they [guests] accepted our invitation, and that they’re excited to help us re-imagine the space for future generations”, said McCaughey.
Eligible Magazine was lucky enough to be invited to the event. We were surprised to find out that the space had a much deeper history than its previous façade would indicate. The building was actually constructed in 1916 and stood for decades as the Davis Assembly Hall/Dovercourt Assembly Hall. Many charitable events , meant to support battalions fighting in WWI and WWII, were held within its walls. We also learned that the building held some of the first Canadian Women’s Auxiliary meetings and that a rich Canadian history was developed within it. It wasn’t until it was purchased in 1964 that it became the speakeasy it is known for today.
The feedback received from attendees that night will help to steer The Matador’s new brand and aesthetic. We’re eager to see the final outcome and happy to be the first to tell Toronto that The Matador, and its memory, is alive.