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The red-tape brigade comes to The Pinball Café—but the owners are appealing

That was fast. We’ve received word from Jason Hazzard that the Toronto red-tape brigade is planning to put the kibosh on has got a few problems with his brand-new Pinball Café. Hazzard told us that his business license has been revoked because, although there’s no problem with running a café in the space, he’s not currently licensed to run an arcade. city officials have told him that the café is located in an area where the zoning does not allow “Places of Amusement.” “It’s the remnant of some 1950s-era law,” Hazzard explained. Apparently, pinball was illegal in many big North American cities until the ’70s because it was equated with gambling (there were even pinball raids!). As it stands, the café is not exactly a site of corruption and degeneracy: yesterday, it was filled with couples on dates sipping milkshakes and lonely hearts wiling away Valentines Day on Supersonic. Hazzard is contesting the revocation of his business license is applying for a zoning variance, a process that will take three months. Until the hammer comes down, he plans to stay open, spreading the pinball gospel to all those with a spare quarter (and even those without—Skylab is free to play).

  • The Pinball Cafe

    Don’t believe the hype!!!! We are open and we are STAYING open!

  • Joey

    What a mean piece! Such a shame – right on the heels of a glowing article! Too bad this ‘reporter’, who was just at the cafe playing pinball, should jump on a bit of gossip to get herself a scoop. Wouldn’t it have been a better choice to try to give support and help to the place she raved about that very same day?! Or, at the very least, to get her facts straight?

  • Joey


    Bravo to Toronto Life. My confidence is restored!

    Thank you for checking your facts.

  • Caroline Aksich

    Hi Joey,

    One of the owners asked me to write this piece about the problems they were having with the city. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication regarding the nature of the problem. I’m glad that your confidence has been restored, and I apologize for the error.

  • Donald

    Is the strike-out an editorial policy? It’s too prevalent and renders this article difficult to read.

    If it’s personal style then it’s annoyingly immature, attempt at sarcasm or a sotto voce inside joke no one cares about.

    Otherwise interesting article, reminiscent of the Junction’s no alcohol and its humorous repeal debate.

  • parkdaleeater

    i am interested to see how a ‘family’ friendly arcade and milkshakery will co-exist next door to the grace place dive bar.

  • Guest

    Looks like they closed a while ago because this article was actually spot on.