Good news as we have been able to stop, at least for now, Liberty Entertainment Group’s plans to re-locate their restaurant Don Alfonso 1890 to the Casa Loma Stables.
Councillor Josh Matlow organized a meeting with Robert Levy, President of the CLRA, neighbours, Joanna Kates and JoAnn Breitman, city staff and Nick Di Donato of LEG and others after neighbours noticed work taking place behind the stables. Matlow had previously promised that nothing would be done with the stables until a full review of the lease was undertaken and the community consulted. Matlow was taken aback that plans for a restaurant had progressed with the knowledge of City staff.
Liberty president Nick Di Donato confirmed his company had planned to relocate the Don Alfonso 1890 restaurant to Casa Loma’s stables. The restaurant had been operating as a pop-up in Casa Loma’s Conservatory during the pandemic. An application quietly filed with the City last year did show plans to build a kitchen, washroom and covered walkway to accommodate the restaurant and with “encouragement” from Economic Development construction had started ahead of a permit being issued.
There is no doubt that LEG has done a great job since taking over management of Casa Loma in 2013. Since then, according to the City, LEG has made $11.9 million in capital improvements and paid Toronto $11.2 million in rent and other proceeds. However the CLRA has been complaining for years about the traffic congestion and noise coming from LEG’s success with little concrete results. None of the recommendations in an expensive Noise and Traffic Mitigation Study undertaken by the City in 2018 were ever implemented. It is the CLRA’s view that activities at the Stables should be very limited as they are located within a residential area with homes adjacent to, behind and across from the Stables and just because the Stables are there they should not be used as an active annex to the Castle. In a survey of street residents in November 2021, 78% of the residents on Walmer Road opposed a restaurant being established there.
The City has now agreed to consult with the community before encouraging or approving any plans for additional uses of the Stables. Thank you Councillor Josh Matlow.
Follow-up: Don Alfonso 1890 re-opened on the 38th Floor of the Harbour Castle Westin Hotel in early July.