Carlton Club arts hub closes; Victoria councillor says city should step up

Carlton Club arts hub closes; Victoria councillor says city should step up

A temporary arts and events venue that was supposed to be around for another year in Esquimalt has suddenly closed its doors.

The company behind The Carlton Performing Arts Hub project said cracks in the structure were multiplying by the day, and they chose safety over profit.

“This crack goes all the way from the very top of the building…all the way down,” said Damon Roth, owner of 42ish Media, in a video posted to Facebook.

“The Carlton entryway leans literally onto this green sea can,” Roth said.

From cracks in the brick walls to what appears to be a compromised structure, Roth decided the Carlton Club Cabaret, built in 1958 and located on Carlton Terrace, was no longer safe to use.

“Originally, we were supposed to be there for two years,” said Dane Loucks, a performer who uses the space.

The Carlton Club was being used on a two-year lease by performers in the region. The club was set to be demolished in 2024 to make way for a new development. Recently, new music and wrestling brought new life to the venue, but now its performers are without a space.

“I think it’s going to be a massive loss for the community, aside from the wrestling, there’s a lot of up-and-coming bands that would do their first shows there,” said Loucks.

Now gone, it’s the latest in a long line of local music venues in the Capital Region to shut down. The scene has already lost places like Logan’s Pub and Copper Owl, to name a few, in the last couple of years.

At least one Victoria city councillor wants the municipality he works for to step in.

“I’d like the city of Victoria to take a more active role in arts spaces,” city councillor Matt Dell tweeted.

“Municipal intervention would be fantastic at this point in time,” said Loucks. “I don’t know if that’s common in other cities but that definitely would be helpful.”

From a policy perspective, what that looks like remains to be seen. In the meantime, the Carlton Performing Arts Hub doors are suddenly closed a year earlier than expected.

“These people don’t have a place to go to express themselves. I don’t know. I don’t know what it means for entertainment and music and wrestling in this town, but it’s definitely unfortunate,” said Loucks.

The Carlton Performing Arts Hub and its performers say they’re hoping someone else can open their doors.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!