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In 1986 I began doing my programs out of The Cabana Room of The Spadina Hotel in Toronto.

Before that I ran them out of churches, libraries, schools and universities.

At all of those locations staff complained to me about receiving calls from people asking about my programs.

At The Spadina when they told me I was wanted on the phone I asked the caller not to call their number again.

The owner said, “Reg, you don’t understand. We are here to help you.”

When people asked why I had left the church for the bar I said, “There is more spirit in the bar.”

People thought I was talking about spirits in bottles.

I was not.

I was talking about the essential spirit of cooperation without which nothing can be done.

That same year I was invited by one of Canada’s major universities to teach. They said, “You will like it here. We get the cream of the crop. We get the ones with money.”

The ones with money are the farthest from being the cream of the crop.

I spoke with them mainly to see if they were as silly as they sounded.

One of the people there was a Nun. She said, “Must you do your programs in public houses and taverns?”

Looking her in the eye I said, “You know when our lord walked the earth he was kicked out of churches, synagogues and temples. He was made welcome in public houses and taverns. People made him welcome there. Where he was, I AM.”

She said, “You are the rudest person I have ever met.”

I learned a lot at The Spadina Hotel.

Bars have a tough road to walk,

To make enough money to pay their property taxes bars need people to consume alcohol.

For a long time there was one night a year when a bar could make enough money to carry them through the year.

That one night was New Year’s Eve.

Then the good folks decided we need alternatives to bars on New Year’s Eve.

Bars began to find that tough road they have to walk getting tougher.

This year with Covid and its restrictions the entertainment industry in this country and around the world is going to pay a high price.

When this began I prepared myself for a minimum three year shut down.

I was surprised when some live theatres opted to re-open their doors.


Because I knew they’d soon have to shut them.

We are in for a longer haul than too many want to admit.

It is not going to be easy.

Nonetheless we can make it through.

The old saying is prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

That is what I am doing.

–Reg Hartt




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