When Richard Carson was forced to close the doors to his club in January 2017, after fifteen years, it sent shock waves through the music community, in Toronto, across the country, and internationally.
Brian Iler, a regular patron of the club and friend to Richard, and Grit Laskin, a frequent performer at Hugh’s Room (as part of Friends of Fiddlers’ Green) and a central figure in Canada’s folk music community, put out the call to a host of potential supporters. A group of more than 15 people attended the first of what would become weekly meetings for the first six months, and monthly thereafter. Those meetings looked closely at the factors that led to Hugh’s Room closing, considered whether there was potential for a viable new operation, and committed themselves to an effort to re‑open as a not‑for‑profit.
Members of that group, with some great additions, make up HRL’s board of directors today.
They were heartened when, putting out the call for donations, $150,000 was received. That sufficed to secure the space, hire the staff, and proceed to do all that was required to re‑open, as Hugh’s Room Live.
We opened on April 22, 2017, with a wonderful concert by Connie Kaldor.
We’re proud to have saved our unique and highly regarded club, and look forward to the years ahead of brilliant music performances.