About The Tranzac
The TRANZAC is a community arts venue dedicated to supporting, presenting, and promoting creative and cultural activity in Toronto. We are a registered not-for-profit corporation, with a board of directors that is elected by the club’s membership. Directors are elected at annual meetings for two-year, overlapping terms, and include members of the arts community as well as professionals who provide skills to help run the organization. There are five executive directors (president, first vice president, second vice president, treasurer, and secretary) and seven members at large.
The board provides support and direction to the general manager and staff, who run The TRANZAC on a day to day basis. Club staff includes the booking managers, maintenance, bartenders, and cleaners, all of whom are paid hourly. A team of audio technicians are paid a flat fee by the presenter, as part of their booking fee.
We have three distinct venues: The Main Hall, The Southern Cross Lounge, and The Tiki Room. The latter two names are part of our heritage as the former Toronto Australia New Zealand Association Club. Each of these three rooms is outfitted with gear appropriate to its size, and each operates differently.
The Main Hall is available for rent by the public and hosts a wide variety of events, including concerts, educational presentations and conversations, poetry and storytelling jams, book launches, craft shows, recitals, political and community gatherings, weddings, end-of-life ceremonies, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, CD releases, theatrical runs, operas, tango soirées, and everything in between. Many musicians have performed over many years in the Main Hall, and it is also home to two theatre groups, the Players, and the NAGs Players, who have been mounting fully fledged theatrical productions several times a year for over four decades. As part of our support for the arts and the community we may reduce or waive the rental fee in order to help support an event. Renters who require lighting or sound also pay a tech fee, which goes directly to the technicians.
The Southern Cross Lounge offers live music seven nights a week, with multiple performances each night. The Southern Cross hosts both residencies and one off bookings, including avant-garde and improvised jazz, traditional folk sing-alongs celebrating multiple cultures, bluegrass, pop, electronica, singer-songwriters, and a weekly open mic. Southern Cross performers pass the hat for contributions, and also receive a percentage of bar sales. The TRANZAC depends on bar sales to keep the Southern Cross operating. If you attend a show in the Southern Cross, please put some money in the hat and buy a drink or two to help keep this amazing venue going.
The Tiki Room has a dual personality: it can be rented by the general public for smaller events, and it’s also made available as a rehearsal space to members. While there is a bar in the Tiki Room, it is currently not operating, but Tiki Room users and guests can buy drinks at the Southern Cross bar.
In addition to the three public main floor venues, The TRANZAC has a couple of tenants who rent second floor rooms at below market rates, including Girls Rock Camp and the Toronto Zine Library.
So How Does It All Work?
One thing that distinguishes The TRANZAC is that we own the building, which helps provide us with some stability. We do have a mortgage which is held by Community Counts Foundation, and the interest that The TRANZAC pays helps fund our CCF partners. They include SKETCH, Common Table Program at Flemingdon Park, Friendly Spike Theatre Band, Henri Nouwen Society, FaithTech, PACT Urban Peace Program, Secret Handshake Arts Program, One City Peterborough, and Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC).
Several years ago, The TRANZAC leased our parking lot to the Toronto Parking Authority, in exchange for a cut of revenues of the Green P parking lot. These funds, in addition to room rental revenues, bar sales, and memberships, go to pay our bills. We’re still not break even, but we’re very close.
As a not-for-profit corporation, we don’t pay taxes, except for HST, and in our capacity as a theatre under 1,000 seats, the City of Toronto has exempted us from property taxes.
Thus far, we have neither pursued nor received any operational support from the various funding bodies, but we have received infrastructure grants from organizations such as Canadian Heritage, to assist with large scale repairs and improvements to the building.
All of the above, plus a dedicated group of performers and musicians, is what makes The TRANZAC the unique and beloved place that it is. And if the community has its way, it will continue to be here for decades to come.
TRANZAC is the abbreviation of the Toronto Austalia New Zealand Club. Its roots date back to the year 1931, when a small group of Australians and New Zealanders met in the Bay Street (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) offices of J.W. Collins, the New Zealand Trade Commissioner.
Like so many newcomers to Canada, the group wanted to retain a part of their national identity and they formed a group primarily to welcome other Australian and New Zealand newcomers and to help meet the needs of their fellow countrymen by providing social activities, fostering fellowship and goodwill and promoting a better understanding of Canada.
In December 1950, a formal meeting of the group at the King Edward Hotel resulted in the official birth of an Australian New Zealand Club in Toronto. By 1964 the membership had increased to 260 and official club premises were rented on Sherbourne Street.
In 1966 the club was incorporated under the name TRANZAC and the hard working and enthusiastic committee set about working toward securing its own permanent premises. Membership and activities increased and the club moved from establishment to establishment to accommodate members and their friends. Finally, in 1971 all the hard work of the committees and support of the members became a reality and the club was in a position financially to obtain its own premises. TRANZAC moved to its present location at 292 Brunswick Avenue in October 1971.
Over time the club formed alliances with a number of "official" subgroups, starting with the Nomads Rugby Club and the Friends of Fiddlers Green folk music club. The NAGs Players and Irish music and dance community continue to use the club regularly. The Chris Langan Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann begin meeting at the Tranzac in 1979 and still has music lessons and the annual Chris Langan Traditional Music Weekend each winter at the Tranzac.
To inquire about rentals, bookings or livestreams in the Main Hall email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in playing the Southern Cross Lounge or booking the Tiki Lounge (once TRANZAC reopens), please contact email@example.com.
For all other inquiries call (416) 923-8137 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To reach the president of Tranzac's board of directors, email email@example.com.