News / Calgary

City of Calgary tells Broken City to be quiet

Venue was host to Year of Music events, including outdoor concert

Broken City co-owner Andrew Brassard was crushed after the city warned he couldn’t play music on the patio.

Jeremy Simes / For Metro

Broken City co-owner Andrew Brassard was crushed after the city warned he couldn’t play music on the patio.

It sounds more like the Year of Silence.

After a weekend of celebrating the Big Winter Classic to amplify Calgary’s Year of Music, Broken City co-owner Andrew Brassard was slapped with a warning notice from the city.

Someone in the Beltline had complained about the noise and, after city bylaw officers investigated, they decreed Broken City shall not have outdoor speakers on its balcony.

Brassard was crushed, when he got his notice on Feb. 11.

“I understand the residents being annoyed,” he said. “But people living in the downtown core should expect things like this.”

As per Broken City’s permit — zoned as an outdoor café — the bar is operating outside its development approval by having outdoor speakers on the upper patio, according to the city.

Brassard said he had all the paperwork necessary to host the Big Winter Classic.

He said Broken City can apply for a new development permit or special events licenses. Both options don’t guarantee approval.

He also plans to consult with the community and the city to see if an agreement can be made.

For now, it’s unclear if Broken City will host patio events for Sled Island and next year’s Big Winter Classic.

“It’s really important things like this happen in Calgary, culturally and economically,” Brassard said.



There’s always that one guy who ruins the party, according to Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley.

Woolley’s comments stem from the city’s decision to slap Broken City with a warning notice that says the bar shall not have outdoor speakers on its balcony.

“It’s straight up frustrating,” Woolley said. “If we want a vibrant downtown, is this actually good for the city?”

In late January, Broken City and Last Best Brewing & Distilling hosted the Big Winter Classic, a weekend festival that celebrated local bands and brews.

Adrian Urlacher, who founded the festival, said both bars had paperwork to play until 10 p.m. on the nights of Jan. 28 - 30.

“It’s a really sad thing — I just felt we took every step we could to be on par. It’s counterproductive,” he said.

“From just walking across the street, you couldn’t hear the music from a block away. It wasn’t a raucous or anything.”

It’s also ironic, given the Calgary is celebrating the Year of Music, Urlacher said, adding Last Best never saw a complaint.

Stephen A. van Kampen, singer/songwriter with Savk — which played at Last Best during the festival — said he could’ve been the one to aggravate the complainer.

“It’s unfortunate — music is what makes a city,” he said.

Broken City co-owner Andrew Brassard questioned why the bar hasn’t seen complaints during Stampede — its patio was playing music then, too.

“We don’t want to piss off residents and we want people to live around here,” he said. “As Calgary grows and becomes this city that is more than something than just oil, there needs to be things other than Stampede and oil for tourism, for work, for anything.”

Woolley said the city is reviewing the community standards bylaw in June. Everything will be on the table, he added.

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