Five things we learned about Peter Gatien’s quiet Toronto life
Peter Gatien’s story is legendary to a generation of New York club kids and would-be New York Club kids who had the bad luck of living elsewhere. In the ’90s, Gatien made NYC’s Limelight an institution for creatives who wanted to party (hard) and express themselves by wearing outrageous outfits, including Madonna, Michael Musto, Chloe Sevigny, Michael Alig and James St. James. He made millions, but ended up broke following a series of legal battles, including investigations that attempted to link Gatien to the sale of party drugs in his clubs (the case was later dropped, but he was left with hefty legal fees), and a tax conviction that led to his deportation from the U.S. and brought him to Toronto in 2003. Limelight, a documentary about the rise and fall of the one-time “King of Clubs,” opens tomorrow. In anticipation, the New York Times sat down with Gatien at his Queen West apartment wherein, it seems, the once fast-paced life of a New York club overlord can very quickly turn to a life of quiet reflection. What we learned after the jump.
• His Queen West rent is a very modest $3,000 per month, paid largely by friends and family.
• There still isn’t a definitive answer on why Gatien left Circa, the John Street megaclub that he was hired to forge into Toronto’s answer to Limelight. Gatien alleges that he parted ways because investors were unwilling to update the space regularly, telling the Times, “If you want something to be an institution, you have to keep investing in it.” Unfortunately, investors Ari Kulidjian and Stephen Katmarian are unwilling to comment, which means unsatisfying rumours about Gatien “not running things properly” remain.
• In an effort to provide his 17-year-old son with what he describes as a “stable lifestyle,” Gatien devotes 90 per cent of his time to him, which means keeping to a strict budget and almost never leaving the house. Gatien quipped, “Luckily, college tuition in Canada is 20 per cent the price in the U.S.”
• His only remaining connection to New York City is his former lawyer Benjamin Brafman.
• In 2003, Gatien lived alone in a $1,200 one-bedroom apartment on King West, waiting a year before his wife and son would make the trip from NYC—his wife, Alessandra, wanted their son to complete sixth grade before they moved.