Liberty Entertainment Group (LEG) recently re-opened Don Alfonso 1890 as a “POP-UP” restaurant in the Conservatory of Casa Loma. The high-end restaurant, which opened in the Financial District in 2018, closed following government pandemic mandates on March 19. In mid-August, LEG announced they would close for good as its location in the Consumers Gas Building on Toronto St. was bought by a foreign company that plans on turning it into a condo.
The new temporary home inside Casa Loma seats 60 guests, arranged to meet the government’s social distance requirements. The Conservatory has traditionally been used as a wedding venue, accommodating 90 guests for a seated dinner or 150 for a standing reception.
Activity at the castle is down considerably because of Covid. The POP-UP restaurant will bring back some employment and shouldn’t make a noticeable difference to the traffic, noise and congestion that has been the case at Casa Loma in the past.
The CLRA is concerned about the possibility of this POP-UP restaurant becoming a permanent fixture in the Stables building at some point in the future when life after Covid returns to normal. We have brought this concern to our Councillor Josh Matlow. At this point, LEG has raised with the city (Economic Development and Culture) the notion of a restaurant on the “north campus” but discussions have not yet begun as the City has indicated several initial research steps need to be taken first such as compliance with zoning, building envelope capacity and heritage. The City has assured us that we will be fully consulted before any decisions are made or even any significant action is taken, and then if the idea is advanced any further than a general idea, there would be further consultations on specific matters such as design, traffic, etc.
Our Councillor’s office is following up on the lease review process for the Stables that has been stalled due to the pandemic. Once they have any news on that (and/or the restaurant), a meeting will be held with the CLRA.
The CLRA strongly feels that no restaurant or other type of permanent establishment should be installed on this property given that the Stables and other structures north of Austin Terrace are wholly within an established residential area and that this area is already disrupted by traffic exiting onto Walmer Rd. from the stables. We have asked our Councillor to have the City incorporate our position into any discussions they will have with LEG or other party related to the lease and use of the Stables and other properties north of Austin Terrace.
We will be following developments closely and keep you informed.