"Eyes speak no more, heart feel no fear for she can see all."

Would you like to ‘rant’ at Madame Webb? Contact me at:madamelisawebb@hotmail.com

Rant Archive

To know our future, we must learn from our past
Thanks to M.C. and A.L. for all your help.

"Goth is not a word we generally used back then. We were all "freaks" at best, but that lumped punks, goths, and everyone else in together. If Nuts and Bolts had called itself a goth bar it would have killed more than half of it's trade ;-)
Other favorite venues were Klub Dominio and Silver Crown. Then you have to consider the punk clubs, but they were always short lived. Two of the longer running clubs that I spent time at were the Turning Point and DMZ.
As far as "goth" clothing stores, Siren was the first that specialized. The first shop to carry skull buckle boots was Groovy L Waves.
Not so much that, as categories weren't as important then. If you were weird, you were weird and that's all that mattered. Hardcore punks didn't always hang out in the "dance" clubs as much, but they did in the beginning, and they did for particular women ;-) Then there were "crossovers" who used to go to all kinds of different clubs, and enjoy all kinds of different things.
Don't get me wrong, there were a ton of labels. In the early 80s there was the whole New Romantic thing, followed shortly by the Blitz thing (which was in retrospect mostly just a tattered new romantic) That was in Toronto in 81 or 82, and then things just evolved darker. I guess it's hard to describe. In some ways I remember people then just doing what they wanted to do, and not worrying much about whether it fit into categories. Everybody wore a lot of black back then, but if you found a fantastic vintage frock that you loved in another colour, you wore it out on a Saturday night anyways. (Vintage was a lot more affordable back then)
There was also a bigger diversity within the scene back then. More people of colour, more homosexuals, more transgendered tv." - M.C.

Siren - Opened its doors to the Gothic world in 1988. Located perfectly at 463 Queen St. W., owned by Grovella Blak. Mrs and Mr Blak also created the Toronto Gothic Society. But as the world changes so have the Society, you can now find a new version called, The Dark Place Gothic Society. This was the first store to specifically cater to the gothic crowd. Sadly all good things must come to an end; this gorgeous salon style haven closed its doors on July 17, 2005.

Kat House – A side project store for the owners of Siren. This little store opened in the late 90s was located East of Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave. It catered to the glam, rock n’ roller side of goth.

Hells Belles – The new shop residing in Siren’s old home. One can find punk, glam, rockabilly and fetish clothing wares and clothing here.

Haven Fashions – Opened by the same people who run Borderline, located at 319 Queen St. W., opened in April of 2005. This was a great little shop for graver clothing and accessories. Closed in Winter/Spring of 2007.

Ilyich's - Located behind Future Bakery on Brunswick Avenue just off Bloor St. W, in the late 90s. This was an industrial, punk bar favoured by the local Goths. The decor was dark, decayed looking and industrial music was pumped through its speakers. And as one reviewer put it, quote; "So amazingly pretentions that it's quite wonderful."

Heretic - Sandra Huculiak with her own clothing line, Vamp Design, opened the Heretic boutique in 1999. The store featured clothing and corsets designed exclusively by the owner. Heretic also carried chain mail fashion, bead and metal jewellery, leather goods, and many other fashion accessories all created by local designers. Tarot & Rune readings were available by master divination practitioner, John Huculiak. The storefront operation closed its doors on August 9th, 2002, so she could return to her true love, Designing, full-time. The store exists in cyberspace (www.heretic.ca), and all the favourite items and jewellery designers are available on-line. Sandra still does custom work by appointment at her private studio. Tarot readings are also still available by appointment.

House of Ill Repute - Gwyn Strang tried twice to open this store in Toronto but without any success. House closed its doors for good in the spring of 2003. It was the only place in Toronto where you could purchase Jeannie Nitro clothing. The store was great for creative hair jewellery and unique accessories. House of Ill Repute might be out there in cyberspace but the currently known website address is not working.

Beyond the Gates of Hell - It was a great way for young Goths to be exposed to different styles of music. This radio program, broadcast on CIUT 89.5FM, was hosted by Mitch Krol. Mitch was also the singer for the Toronto band Masochistic Religion. Both the radio program and band left us in 1998. Back in 1997 I interviewed Mitch for the new release of the Masochistic Religion album, 'The Litanies of Satan'. The article was for a zine called" P is for Punk".

www.toronto-goth.com - This information site came alive on the World Wide Web in 1999. It is a full scale resource for anyone interested in Toronto's Gothic/industrial/whatever you call it scene - from those that live it everyday to those planning trips here to disturbingly bored folk who enjoy reading about cities they never plan to go to. They have picture pages, local events, shopping guides, reviews, club listings, profiles on local people, and even a web based forum that can be used to post classified ads, creative writing or anything else one wants to post.

www.darktoronto.com - Another great resource site for the Toronto Goth scene created in 2003. Owned and operated by a Toronto DJ, this site is very informative, up to date event listings and gives you the 'dirt' on what's happening in the city. They have a relics page for people wanting to sell ANYTHING!

Sanctuary Vampire Sex Bar - Opened on September 3rd 1992 in the location that used to be home to The Abyss and the Lizard Lounge. The Lizard Lounge did host one Goth night. Sanctuary then moved to 732 Queen St. W., on May 1st, 1993. To please the ever demanding crowd, Catacombs was opened in the same building as Sanctuary on June 1st, 1995. Sanctuary was the oldest club of its kind in North America but the doors were closed for good on June 30th, 2000.

Silver Crown - Located on Richmond St., it was THE Goth bar. It was VERY popular. Unfortunately the bar had to close because the building was being torn down.

Twilight Zone - Regular and after hours bar.

Nuts and Bolts - Its home was on the corner of Victoria and Dundas St E. A great bar and perfect for the 80's but it was small and the bar was always getting hassled by cops and liquor licence people. This was also a club goer favourite. You could dance the night away on their amazing steel floor.

Night Gallery - Which was above the Gasworks on Yonge St., was very popular and closed down in late 1992 or early 1993. Club goers used to do Friday nights at Night Gallery and then Saturday nights at Sanctuary at its old location.

Stillife or Stilife - A very upscale Goth night located at Richmond St. and Duncan St. This bar best suited the older Gothic crowd with 'well lined pockets.'

The Empire - Opened where St Charles Tavern used to be on Yonge St. It was a great Goth bar and had a lot of live bands, it became the Time Club but then it was closed down due to illegal actions.

Death in the Underground - Was created and opened by ex-employees of the Sanctuary bar. There was fierce competition between Deaths owners and Sanctuary. The bar opened sometime in 1993 and was closed before the New Year of 1994. Death in the Underground changed the Goth bar scene by dropping the cover charge. Other places then had to do the same, and it has never been able to go back up.

Boom Boom Room - A great live venue place that was usually habited by regulars from The Bovine. It had more of a Rock n' Roll feel to it rather than Goth. Its location was much sought after by the owner of Sanctuary.

Catch 22 - Attracted mostly CFNY listeners of the alternative kind rather than a true Gothic crowd. The floor was made of stainless steel. Not too safe if someone spilled a drink.

Club Noire - A short lived club which was loved by many. It was located on Queen St. W., where the Velvet Underground now is. Its atmosphere was very dark and drew the same crowd as the Silver Crown.

Funhaus - Located where the former Zoo bar/Zen lounge was. Three creative people made a joint effort to give Toronto yet another Gothic alternative bar. You can count on amazing DJs and many creative nights. They also host concerts at this venue.

Limelight - This bar was located right in the middle of the club district. Who can forget Sunday nights at Limelight? It was one of the best Goth nights around. Great variety of music, they played requests, and there were shooter girls for all your drinking needs! Sadly the bar closed down, like so many of the good ones, in 2001.

Anarchist’s Cocktail – A bar for the dark at heart. This little slice of darkness opened in the summer of 2000 at 1286 Bloor St. West. It had Gothic nights on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Sadly it lasted only a year and closed in the fall of 2001.

The Matrixx - 425 Adelaide St West. This modern, metallic decor, open space bar opened in July of 2003. It held some fantastic Gothic nights.

The Pussy Cat Nightclub - Located at 304 Richmond St. in the heart of the entertainment district. This great little bar opened in late 2003 but unfortunately was short live and held its last night on October 10, 2004. It featured Gothic/Alternative nights on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

Some may think that I forgot to include Freakshow - I am not sure I want to remember them!

The Vatikan - Located in the west end of Queen St. W., one block West of Ossington. Opened by the old owner of Santuary and a partner, this became the new home to many people from the old Sanctuary crowd. The main décor theme there was BLACK, but it is accentuated by beautiful white artwork on the walls. Vatikan was another one of Toronto's great Goth clubs and they hosted some really wicked nights such as; Sin Saturday, Absinthe Night, Black Trillium and Cyber Fetish. It closed its doors in July of 2006.

Nocturnalia - a short lived gothic and alternative shop which opened up near Queen and Spadina but closed in the spring of 2005.  The store featured clothing by the owner and designer Nicole Cooper, the store sold ecelectic pagan items as well. It was great to see that Nocturnalia constantly supported the community by donating event prizes.

PosePod - a cyber gothic shop brain storm by the owners of Savage Garden.  This large store on Queen St. West provides us with cyber, graver, lolita and goth clothing and accessories.