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Nashville North – The notorious former nightclub

August 2022

On 19 April 2019, the notorious Nashville North nightclub in the southern Ontario village of Norval, suddenly shut down, after 57 years of operation. Once described as the greatest country bar in the Greater Toronto Area, it officially opened on 31 December 1961 as the Riviera Club, it would go on to become one of the most well-known entertainment venues in Southern Ontario, for both good and bad reasons. 

The landmark two-storey Octagon-shaped building featured 43 feet of large floor to ceiling windows providing an un-obstructed view of the nearby Credit River. The lower level featured dining tables, a sunken dance floor and a DJ booth situated on a large stage in the middle of the dance floor.

Overlooking the dance floor, the upper level featured a lounge-type setting, complete with pool tables, TVs and a bar.

An outdoor gathering area was later added, with an outdoor bar that was dubbed “My Cottage”. 

Going by numerous different names throughout the years, The Burgundy Club, The WayJay, Club 2000, it first became known as Nashville North, a country-themed bar, in 1994.

An addition built in the 1970s became a fitness club, indoor and outdoor pools, a gym and outdoor volleyball courts.

After facing numerous Liquor Licence Act charges and having their liquor licence suspended twice between 2004 and 2006, for things like loud music and drunken fights, the property owner evicted the then-operators of Nashville North and shut the bar down. 

While they attempted to get the liquor licence re-instated, the fitness club remained in operation, hosting adult league games five days a week and volleyball competitions. 

Trying to shed it’s bad reputation, Nashville North re-opened in 2007 as West Seven Night Club. However, this was short-lived, as the club reverted to Nashville North in 2011.

A popular venue for dancing and music

Over the years, the club has featured a variety of entertainment, including college nights, line dancing nights, country nights, Top 40 nights, teens-only nights, charity galas, fashion and talent shows.

It also served as a popular concert venue right from its early days, with a diverse range of Canadian and American performers over the decades that have included Robbie Lane & Disciples, Bobby Curtola, Frank Soda, Alanah Myles, Coney Hatch, Eric Burdon & War, Blue Rodeo, Bruce Cockburn, Dixie Chicks, Nazareth, Gene Watson, Del Shannon, Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Mystics, Edger Winter with Rick Derringer, Little Texas, Maestro Fresh Wes and Young MC.

The most popular concert in the early years was Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins, who attracted over 1,000 patrons over two nights.  More recently, over 1,000 people attend a concert by former soulDecision singer Trevor Guthrie in 2015.

The venue even hosted Garden Brothers Circus, the Chippendales male-revue, and served as a film set for the Al Pacino movie “The Recruit.”

The 34 foot tall ceilings provided great acoustics for bands playing, with a 2100 square foot hardwood dance floor for patrons to dance to the bands or a DJ.

For Sale

The buildings and the 6.6 acre property have been up for sale for the past three years, listed for $3.9 million. It’s yet to be seen what will become of the former Nashville North.

Sources: https://www.torontonightclub.com/ca/country-bar-nashville-north-rides-off-into-the-sunset, https://www.theifp.ca/news-story/10000774-what-s-going-on-here-this-former-halton-hills-hot-spot-is-for-sale, http://historyindecay.blogspot.com/2021/09/the-history-of-nashville-north.html, http://www.thegeorgetownvault.com/memories/nashville-norththe-riviera, http://radixonline.ca/archives/?p=7861.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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