March 17, 2020.
As many are aware, Graywood Developments has recently acquired the 506-516 Church St. properties. Part of this development site includes the location of Toronto’s beloved drag bar, Crews & Tangos. Since acquiring the property, Graywood has been in dialogue with the business owner, Michael Ramawad, as well as local Councillor, Kristyn Wong-Tam regarding the future of the business.
While the spread of COVID-19 and the immediate safety of our friends, patrons and community members remains top of mind, Michael and the team at Graywood Developments felt it was important to address the long-term viability of Crews & Tangos. The significant challenges before us do not diminish the fact that the future of Crews & Tangos remains a vital concern for many.
Though the development process has just started, it has always been Graywood’s intention to continue working collaboratively with the community to respect and honour the fabric of Toronto’s Gay Village. Graywood and Michael have been in constant, productive dialogue since the property was acquired. To ensure the Church-Wellesley and LGBTQ2S+ community do not lose an inclusive, safe space, the Crews & Tangos lease has been extended for two years, during which time regular operations will continue (notwithstanding immediate interruptions due to the impact of COVID-19).
We are also happy to announce that Graywood Developments and Michael Ramawad are exploring a joint plan aimed at maintaining a presence for Crews & Tangos in the future, new development. In the coming weeks, Michael Ramawad will join Graywood in meetings with key, neighbourhood and community organizations in an effort to solidify the community engagement process. Any and all meetings will follow protocols set forth by local health authorities amidst the spread of COVID-19.
“Over the past few weeks, the outpouring of emotion towards Crews & Tangos has been incredibly heartwarming. Crews & Tangos has been a home to me for more than 10 years now,” says Michael Ramawad, Owner, Crews & Tangos. “It was the first place I was comfortable enough to come out and to live my truth. I’ve witnessed proposals, weddings, and people’s journeys as they discovered a
place where they felt safe and accepted. Crews & Tangos means as much to me as it does to you, and together, with Graywood, we are committed to finding a solution to maintain this crucial space for the LGBTQ2S+ community.”
“Since the beginning of this process, we’ve been very fortunate to listen to and learn from Michael. While we understood the significance of this venue, Michael has deepened our appreciation about how valuable this space is for LGBTQ2S+ community members,” says Christine Yee, Director of Development, Graywood. “Though we are still early in the process, we are committed to working with Michael and the community to preserve and maintain the cultural heritage and legacy of Crews & Tangos.”
|Owner, Crews & Tangos
|Director of Development, Graywood