Looking back, I'm not entirely sure that anyone (myself included) was really convinced that a weekly club night dedicated to Cuban music would actually work. A year later it seems obvious that it was something whose time had come.
The three dance schools sure make a difference. Sarita Leyva, Vladimir Aranda and Albena de Assis (Afro-Latino Dance Company) now have many students who are familiar with the music of Manolito, Van Van, Pupy Pedroso etc etc and who have found a home on Sundays at Babaluu
No doubt the 'embargo' (or bloqueo if you prefer) of Cuban salsa music still exists within the Salsa establishment, but it is far less unanimous than when I started playing Cuban music 7 or 8 years ago. The dance teachers listed above are part of the reason why things have changed...but also many of the salsa schools now teach casino rueda, (badly or not is another question) and many of the salsa teachers are familiar with afro-cuban dance. As well, most of the local salsa musicians are from Cuba and many of the bigger live salsa shows have been Cuban artists.
Also, very importantly, the website/blogs have created a different climate. This site, CubainToronto.com,(Cuban events updates) and Muchoswing.com (with it's clips of the latest Cuban dance and music from Havana) have all provided places for the audience to go for more info.
Another reason why the Sundays at Babaluu have worked is because Cuban people are more and more intergrated into the Canadian system, and there are enough Cubancanadians - usually younger - who will go out on a Sunday night.
Musically speaking, as a working DJ, it's been a great opportunity to play a weekly 4-5 hour set digging deep into the catalogue of Charanga Habanera, Bamboleo, NG La Banda, Pupy etc etc, to mix it up with the latest Cuban reggaeton, ....and if something doesn't work, well no probs, we just move along to the next song. We have 'broken' songs in that room (Havana de Primera's 'Cuando el Rio Suena', Charanga Habanera's 'Gozando en La Habana') which is something that every DJ aspires to do.
So thanks to all who have made the evening successful.