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Any Night of the Week: A Walking History of Toronto Music 

Any Night of the Week: A Walking History of Toronto Music 

October 23 at 11am

Join indie musician and writer Jonny Dovercourt any night of the week for this audio walking tour through Toronto’s most musical neighbourhoods. Episodes explore historic musical venues through revealing interviews paired with recordings of the sounds that shaped them. Dovercourt draws on over 20 years of experience as a veteran in the Toronto music community in this five-episode podcast. Three beautiful maps have been created by Daniel Rotsztain (@theurbangeog) to accompany the podcast, so be sure to take a look at those while you listen. You can also purchase prints of the maps here.

 

Episode one: Yonge Street and the Downtown Core

The history of Toronto’s music scene starts on Yonge Street, though the garish commercial strip has long since withered away as a hotbed for live music. Walking north along Yonge from Queen up to Bloor, we take a chronological and geographical trip through history, from the debut of the New Symphony Orchestra at Massey Hall in the ‘20s, jazz at the Colonial Tavern in the late ‘40s, the heyday of rock’n’roll and R&B on “the Strip” in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and community spaces for Caribbean and LGBTQ+ musical expression; continuing through the sleazy hard rock era of the ‘70s, punk rock and new wave on the edges of the core in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and the birth of Canadian hip-hop at the Concert Hall in the mid-’80s.
Any Night of the Week map - Episode 1: Yonge Street and Downtown Core

Episode two & three: Urban Villages

Urban villages are walkable, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods that significantly improve the quality of life in big cities – and they’re a big part of Toronto’s unique character. They’ve also played a big role in the evolution of our music scene. This two-part episode takes us on a trek through four such interconnected villages and the hyper-local music scenes that defined them. Part I of Urban Villages is a lazy wander through the bohemian folk and psych-rock scenes of ‘60s Yorkville and west towards the poetic blues, roots, and alt-rock of The Annex in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Sites visited include the long-lost Riverboat Coffee House, Varsity Stadium, Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, The Brunswick House, the Tranzac and Lee’s Palace.

Urban villages are walkable, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods that significantly improve the quality of life in big cities – and they’re a big part of Toronto’s unique character. They’ve also played a big role in the evolution of our music scene. This two-part episode takes us on a trek through four such interconnected villages and the hyper-local music scenes that defined them. Part II of Urban Villages starts with a stroll along Spadina Avenue, looping through multicultural Kensington Market and along College Street towards Little Italy, connecting bluesy, post-Yorkville bohemia of the ‘70s with pre-millennial indie, punk, reggae and electronica. Iconic venues include the El Mocambo, Sneaky Dee’s, The Silver Dollar Room, Grossman’s Tavern, Graffiti’s, Ted’s Wrecking Yard and the Mod Club Theatre.

Any Night of the Week map - Episode 2&3: Urban Villages

Episode four & five: Queen Street West

Queen Street West is arguably Canada’s most important countercultural main street, and may even be North America’s. Queen West was a quiet, mostly forgotten commercial strip until the punk rock, new wave and reggae explosion of the ‘70s, and it really came to live in the diverse, inclusive, alternative ‘80s – eventually becoming a main hub for the Canadian music industry in the ‘90s. This two-part tour will take us west from University all the way to Gladstone Avenue. The first half explores the origins of the Queen Street scene at its most eastern end – “Classic Queen West” – as well as the birth of Clubland just south on Richmond. Historic sites include The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Club, The Music Gallery, The Beverley Tavern, Crash ‘N’ Burn, The Twilight Zone, 23 Hop, the BamBoo Club and the Rivoli.

Queen Street West is arguably Canada’s most important countercultural main street, and may even be North America’s. Queen West was a quiet, mostly forgotten commercial strip until the punk rock, new wave and reggae explosion of the ‘70s, and it really came to live in the diverse, inclusive, alternative ‘80s – eventually becoming a main hub for the Canadian music industry in the ‘90s. This two-part tour will take us west from University all the way to Gladstone Avenue. Part II follows Queen West as the subcultural strip pushed further west past Spadina — and towards more glorious black-clad griminess. Venues visited include The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, the Cabana Room, The Cameron House, Drom Taberna, the Velvet Underground, the Bovine Sex Club, The Big Bop/Reverb, The Great Hall, the Drake Hotel and the Gladstone Hotel. The tour concludes with a consideration of where else future tours might go – such as the East End or Toronto’s inner suburbs.

Any Night of the Week Map three


Related Books

Dovercourt, Jonny - Any Night of the Week

Any Night of the Week

2020

Any Night of the Week: A Walking History of Toronto Music 

October 23 at 11am


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