Constantines play Wavelength at Ted’s Wrecking Yard in August, 2001. Photo courtesy of Wavelength.
Article originally published August 24, 2012 by The Grid online (TheGridTO.com).
In this edition of her nightlife-history series, Denise Benson revisits the beloved College Street venue that lit the fuse for Toronto’s post-millennial indie-rock explosion.
BY: DENISE BENSON
Club: Ted’s Wrecking Yard & Barcode, 549 College St.
Years in operation: 1997-2001
History: Ted Footman was no stranger to the stretch of College west of Bathurst when he set out to open second-floor venue Ted’s Wrecking Yard, with Barcode below it. Footman lived in the area, and had opened the nearby College Street Bar in the early 1990s. After splitting from his partner in that venture, Footman opened rock-bar hangout Ted’s Collision and Body Repair at 573 College in 1994. (It became known as simply Collision after Footman sold it.)
“Ted’s Collision was a bit of a shock for the neighbourhood,” Footman chuckles during a recent phone chat. “It was all supposed to be pasta and jazz, and all very quiet.”
For many of us living in the area—I rented on Brunswick, just north of College, for 17 years—Ted’s Collision was a welcome addition to the neighbourhood. What it wasn’t, despite Footman’s attempts, was a live-music venue. A 1995 City amendment to the area’s zoning by-law, ushered in by then-City Councillor Joe Pantalone, limited the size and “entertainment-type uses” of restaurants and lounges on College between Bathurst to Ossington, thus dashing Footman’s hopes of expanding Ted’s Collision to two floors.
Instead, Footman turned his attention to a two-floor spot at 549 College. Once home to a series of less-than-busy bars, the location had stood empty for some time.