Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gilchrist-Canavan School of Irish Dance -Open house & How The Ceili Cottage came about

For a number of years now, 8, I think, my daughter has taken to "The Dance". Irish Dance that is. The form of which is of the rigid upper torso, straight arms, and light feet. That is until the hard shoe hits the floor. She, and my son now (he'll thank me later) are both with the Gilchrist-Canavan School of Irish Dance, which has been located, here in the east end of Toronto, residing in the local Legions until about a year ago.
They had to move - a combination of school growth, and expanding headaches experienced from the Legioners, living below the hard-shoe training on the top floor of the Byron Bing Branch on Coxwell.
When it came time to move, Alison (my wife, partner, and best friend) and I were helping to find a suitable location. A large space is required for dancing of any style, and at a reasonable cost - which is the difficult part of the equation. So we thought that I would get part of the dance studio as my own art studio. (I'll eventually get into the art thing...) We were looking for the ultimate space - needs natural light, open space, parking, and at a good price. We saw several spaces that might be good, but none were great...until one morning...
Sinade and Patricia had e-mailed Alison a listing.
"Aw shit!" was what I heard Alison express to the computer screen, at 8:30 in the morning. I thought that there was some bad news, as you can imagine.
"What's wrong?"
"Just look" as she pointed to the screen.
"Oooooo! It's my garage!! How did you get this? What's going on??" I was rather excited.
To back track a bit, I have always liked this building at 1301 Queen Street east. The shape of the building just speaks of Irish Bar to me, and as I was getting cupcakes at Sweet Bliss, I would stare at this building, and with puppy-dog eyes, I would look at Alison.
"No! No way, we're too busy for you to think of an Irish bar!" she would repeat to me.
"But it looks like an Irish Bar - Moran's of the Wier in Clarenbridge!!"
"Yes, but you're too busy with Starfish!"
And that was the end of the conversation - every week.
Until that morning, when the girls sent over the e-mail.
"OK, we'll go - but only to look with the girls!"
It wasn't perfect. Location was great, half way from home to Starfish, east end for the school, but the building was rough. It leaked, no insulation, and there was a large, block structural wall holding up the ceiling. It was too big for the school, and the rent was too expensive for them. It was too big for an Irish bar in my mind, and a proper bar should be small - under 100 seats - tight, just big enough to meet your neighbours.
BUT, if we squished the two together, the concept and idea of the space is great - Irish dance studio, and an Irish bar - what could possibly go wrong?
We had the builder in next, and he said that we could remove the structural wall in the studio side, and that would allow the pub to reside up front, , and the studio would get the most space possible.
So we set off to make this thing work, and now that the bar is open, the Gil-Can school is having an Open House & Registration this weekend - Saturday, Aug, 29th.
Come down and see what we are all about.
As the name Ceili implies - A social get together of music and dance and with that comes the food and drink

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