Built at the turn of the century, the building at 176 Dundas Street holds a lot of history within its walls. Being built in the heart of London’s downtown core, the first incarnation of the space that now holds two of London’s premiere event spaces, was a clothing store. In the late 1940’s, the Zellers family bought the building and it became the site for the first Zellers department store in Canada. As part of renovations to the then 40-year-old space, the Zellers family added the first escalator in Canada that, though non-operational, still exists in the building. The Zellers chain exploded across Canada, and Zellers stayed until 1988 when the decision was made to move all Zellers department stores to suburban areas across the country.
In 1994, the building was bought by the Manuel family and converted it into a bustling market. But four years later, in 1998, the focus switched to entertainment, and the space was reopened as Cosmo City Entertainment Complex, a highly successful venue with an arcade and state of the art laser tag facilities.
Rum Runners was built in 2004, when owner and operator Mike Manuel and his wife Vicki converted vacant space into a two-storey licensed room with a mezzanine and catwalk, small patio, and two V.I.P. rooms. The space holds 650 people and is ideal for live shows, banquet dinners, fashion shows, and everything in between. The design has drawn comparisons to New Orleans as well as upscale Toronto and New York venues.
Due to the impact of computer video games, Cosmo City was revamped in 2006, and in November the Music Hall opened. The space was expanded through renovations, making it ideal for concerts and large banquets, including wedding receptions. The Music Hall stage is large, with raised ceilings for beautiful acoustics. The layout ensures that service and sight lines are excellent.
A sports bar, Tequilla Rose, is open daily, and a room for more intimate functions, The Music Hall Lounge, are located within the same building.
Acts who have played at the Music Hall Complex include rock bands Social Code, Mute Math, and Bobnoxious, hip hop star K-OS, hip hop/reggae star Beanie Man, and blues man Johnny Winter. There is also a solid college and university crowd attracted to the Music Hall, who have come to see DJs and performers like Sander Van Doorn, Antoine Clamaran and Baby u. Owner and booking impresario, Mike Manuel, is proud to provide a world class venue to showcase emerging London area talent like Bill Durst, Staylefish, Chris Chown (Pleasure Shop), the Meister Sistas and many more to come.
The Manuel family are very proud of their contribution to their community. They have hosted numerous fundraisers which have benefited deserving groups like the Aids Society, Tara Boom Houston Foundation, My Sisters Place and Blues in Schools. The complex has also served as a home base for the Fringe Festival, The Blues Festival, Pride, The Jack Richardson awards and the televised Comedy Festival.
The future looks bright for the 100-year old building at 176 Dundas, with a growing reputation for providing a stellar venue with fantastic hospitality, run by talented, highly–trained, and devoted people who love what they do.