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Thursday, December 1, 2011

The decline and fall of Toronto's strip clubs

Downtown Yonge Street in the mid-’70s was a much different scene than the gradually gentrifying shopping and restaurant strip we know today. It was a place where no self-respecting storefront went without a giant neon sign—flashing words like “nude,” “girls” and “XXX”—and where seediness was a simple fact of life. (See this map for proof.)

At the time, Yonge was home to countless so-called body-rub parlours, where the discerning gentleman could duck behind the street’s glittering facade for a quick massage, complete with happy ending. For do-it-yourselfers, the strip’s erotic movie houses screened the finest pornography the decade had to offer.

Interspersed were other businesses that offered comparatively simple pleasures. Places like Starvin Marvin’s (313 Yonge), Le Strip (237A Yonge) and Zanzibar (359 Yonge) featured nude or semi-nude stage shows. These clubs helped form the nucleus of an X-rated scene to rival anything in New York at the time. Even before the city had attained its current skyscrapery grandeur, Toronto’s sleaze was world class.

Almost 35 years later, Yonge Street has changed dramatically. Most of the seediest businesses are gone and the remaining strip clubs seem like stragglers living on borrowed time.

Read the rest at The Grid


Toronto Stripper said...

Nice one. Very interesting to read. i like it. thank you........

Anonymous said...

Le Strip was one terrific club. No snacks or beverages were available but few cared, they all came to feast their eyes. Each act performed to a maximum of 15 minutes, strutting their stuff across the narrow 2nd floor stage. It's said in life, timing is everything and so it was at Le Strip. Patrons arriving at 4;30 pm were treated to a full course 12 performer strip show. The music the costumes and beautiful bodies belonging to such performers as Midnight Satin, Dolly De Milo and Bridgette were just a few who made Le Strip hard to forget. The off stage announcer kept the show moving, playing a Red Foxx among joke tape between acts. I know this because I was that guy. Then in the mid to late 70's it all fell apart with the murder of a young shoe shine boy and Toronto's era of adult