Curbed Toronto sneaked into the Jilly's contents auction on Monday afternoon, following auction staff and bidders into the grimy bowels of the now-closed strip club and taking furtive photos.
Former patrons and would-be club-owners were among the hopeful attendees at yesterday's auction at the New Broadview House Hotel, as the contents of Jilly's, the city's most famous (former) strip club, were sold off. The auctioneer, a Patrick Stewart lookalike with an unidentifiable accent and a black-and-white fedora, called out each lot as bidders made discreet motions to show their interest. There was lighting; rope lights, spotlights, black lights. There was signage; signs selling "Las Vegas style" lap dances, signs for talent wanted, and locker-room signs warning the girls not to come to work without their licenses ("No license ... No work ... No kidding ..."). Bewilderingly, there was a baby's high chair.
When the sale moved downstairs, a couple of bidders dropped out—the 120-year-old building's basement is dark, dirty and creepy, and a few people were put off by the horror-film-set-ness of it all. As we followed the auctioneer from room to tiny stone-walled room, more than one "ow!" was uttered when heads whacked against low ceilings. Decades' worth of discarded strip-club paraphernalia lay around the floors—broken neon signs, a huge oil painting of a slightly-crosseyed vixen, a sad old mirror ball, all snapped up for a song (oddly, no one bid on the duffel bags of old g-strings and platform stilettos). By the time the auction closed, workmen were outside dismantlng the exterior signage—or what was left of it, after Saturday night's closing-party revellers decided to pull some down on their own.
A couple of the Hotel's residents confirmed that Streetcar Developments (who bought the property) have given tenants three months' rent, as well as relocation and transportation assistance. Only 15 tenants remain in the building, down from around 55. Once everyone's been relocated and the hotel is empty, Streetcar will begin demolition of the interior.
· Jilly's last dance; developer buys New Broadview Hotel [Curbed Toronto]
· Finding new homes for the tenants above Jilly's [Torontoist]
· Historian-architect Angus Skene reveals the Jilly's backstory [Toronto Star]