Neighbours have mixed feelings about the World Cup of Hockey fan village
Some love their great views of the concerts, others are bothered by the noise.
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When Felix Fung, 36, arrived home on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m., he was met with crowds of people. He didn’t feel much like joining the party.
“The street was blocked off. There were big coaches dropping people off in front of our building,” he said.
Fung and his partner live in a condominium across from the World Cup of Hockey fan village, which was launched on Sept. 16 and will run until Sept. 25. The village features participatory games, viewing parties for the tournament’s games, and concerts for fans, the first of which took place Sept. 16 and featured Daya, Sam Roberts Band, and the Killers. Another concert, featuring Lenny Kravitz, is set for Sept. 23.
Fung — who wrote a letter to the area’s councillor, Pam McConnell — has found it to be disruptive both in terms of noise and the number of people in the neighbourhood. He said the Killers concert was “loud” and they heard “every song and every cheer.”
“I’m not sure why the district was picked to host such a large event,” Fung said. “Wouldn’t such an event be more appropriate for Nathan Phillips Square where they have the capacity and a history of hosting those large celebrations?”
Residents have had mixed reactions to the 10-day festival. The City of Toronto granted a noise exemption for specific times during the festival but received two noise complaints during the festival’s opening weekend.
But Samantha Anderson, president of Gooderham & Worts Neighbourhood Association, a group that represents residents of the long-established Distillery District, said she is used to these types of festivities, as they have the Christmas market every year and hosted Panamania last year during the Pan Am Games.
“I’d say the Christmas market is louder in terms of people leaving at two and three a.m. after wine and beer markets,” she said.
Even still, she has “heard from both sides.” She’s heard concerns about traffic, noise, and lighting but she’s also had residents rave about the village, sharing stories about the event, or even sending her a picture of their dog with the Stanley Cup.
Still, some residents of the nearby Canary District who are new to the area were not prepared for the boisterous festival. Thomas Molnar, 34, said he didn’t learn about the fan village until a few weeks ago.
“I really think the reason they didn’t tell anybody is because they knew a lot of people would complain,” he said.
Molnar said the noise has been amplified for his family, as they’ve been forced to keep their windows and doors open since their air conditioning stopped working. This has proven especially difficult with a four-month-old daughter.
He also found the lot next to his condominium, and north of the fan village “full of garbage and broken glass as of Saturday and Friday night.”
“I don’t think the overall sense I’ve gotten from people who we’ve become friends with is positive,” Molnar added.
Taylor Vanderwey, 32, who lives across from the fan village on Mill St., disagrees. He believes the fan village is a “good thing for the neighbourhood.” He’s been “quite happy” with those who organized the event, adding that “they’ve been pretty diligent to have it closed by 11.” And with a balcony overlooking the village, he had one of the best seats in the house for the Killers concert.
“We had a few people over, had a couple drinks, and were able to get a good view of the concert, actually,” Vanderwey said.
Brookfield Asset Management, the property management for the Canary District and Canary Park condominiums, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While planning the event, Anderson said the organizers did consult with community residents and neighboring communities, and even switched to a less intrusive location once concerns were raised.
Bob Chesterman, NHL senior vice-president of events, said the league had meetings with community members and representatives, including a representative for the Canary District, to discuss the operations of the fan village. The NHL also provided the community representatives with email addresses to send their concerns to throughout the event. Chesterman said they received complaints over the weekend, all of which they responded to, but as of Wednesday night, had not received any since Sunday.
“You know you’re not going to please everybody all the time but it’s about making people as comfortable as possible and reacting to them as much as you can,” Chesterman said.
Noisy crowds won’t have the use of this territory forever. The vacant lot where the fan village is located is part of the developing West Don Lands neighbourhood, according to the office of Councillor Pam McConnell, and while there is no current schedule for development, there will be in the future.
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Humans of Toronto