Filmmaker Colm Hogan (left) with Councillor Joe Cressy. (Nov.17/2015)
What Was The Twilight Zone?
The Twilight Zone was an after hours nightclub that first opened it’s doors in 1981 at 185 Richmond Street West. At the time, the neighborhood was known as the Garment district, and comprised of factories, many of them sitting empty and unused.
Culturally speaking, Toronto in the late 70s and early 80s was starved for something new. The Twilight Zone’s original owners; Albert, Anthony, David and Michael Assoon were four brothers, all born in Trinidad and raised in Brooklyn. Recognizing an unsatisfied hunger for a cultural shift, the Assoons applied the knowledge accumulated from the clubbing experience they had gained in New York, along with a deep love for music and genuine appreciation for entertaining people.
The resulting effect was a club that helped transform an entire city by providing outstanding music, culture and fashion to flourish.
What is the purpose of this campaign?
This campaign is to honour a club and it’s owners by naming a lane directly beside the same site where the original club rested, before being razed to make way for a parking lot. There is currently a new condominium project being built on the same site.
Why Was The Twilight Zone Important?
• The club provided a safe haven for diverse people, regardless of income, race, sexuality or age to meet in person, socialize and communicate. For the first time, White, Black, Asian, Gay, Heterosexual, and Transgendered people could mingle, in a city traditionally known as being unfriendly, cold, and at times, even intolerant. This helped position a city forward by changing many residents’ perceptions and solidifying a foundation of acceptance and diversity.
• The Twilight Zone introduced a city to several musical genres and youth culture movements. Underground Disco, New Wave, House, Hip Hop and Techno; these were musical genres in their infancy, and by featuring an incredible cast of guest djs and performers (including Eartha Kitt, David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, Kenny Carpenter, the Beastie Boys, to name a few), the Twilight Zone was one of the only early adopters of these cultural styles in the world. This not only made the club, and the city, a destination hub for music lovers; it also helped many young people gain a sense of identity and community.
• The club was also host to many Fashion shows, which helped cultivate an array of world-renowned designers.
• The Twilight Zone was one of only a handful of places to feature a Richard Long sound system, widely regarded as one of the highest rated in the world.
• Finally, and perhaps most notably, The Twilight Zone was the first nightclub to exist in the area, and it’s existence directly resulted in the creation of Toronto’s Entertainment District.
It is for these reasons that the Twilight Zone transformed an entire city, and helped put Toronto on the map as a world class destination for music, art, culture, fashion and diversity. The club, and it’s owners, deserve recognition for their efforts in helping shape the incredible city we have today.