Looking Back On The Horseshoe’s 70 Glorious Years

Today on 'Totally Toronto' with Candice

Totally Toronto is a daily feature that airs weekday mornings on The Josie Dye Show at 6:25, 7:25 and 8:25am. Listen and follow along with Candice for the talk of the day.

The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern is celebrating their 70th Anniversary this year. There will be a number of shows to celebrate including Hollerado, Fast Romantics, Constantines and Billy Bragg tonight. The Horseshoe is known for breaking Canadian bands like The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo and the Barenaked Ladies.

The Shoe is also known for it’s secret shows like when The Rolling Stones played in 1997 and The Pixies in 2015.

I talked to owner Jeff Cohen about the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern. He talks about the “checkerboard floor” that is still there and their best employee, Teddy Fury, who has been there for more than 30 years. Listen to Totally Toronto here.

This is Teddy Fury, the bartender who has been serving up drinks for more than 30 years at the ‘Shoe.

Now for a history lesson. The Horseshoe Tavern first opened in the 1947 as a country/rockabilly bar that hosted the likes of Willie Nelson, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams.

In the 60’s The Horseshoe started hosting some more Canadian acts like The Band, Bruce Cockburn and Jeff Healy.

In the late 70’s everything changed when The Horseshoe became a punk rock club. Turns out that Toronto was not ready for punk rock. So there was one last punk rock show that ended with a riot that destroyed the club and nearly forced it to close its doors forever.

In the early 80’s, The Horseshoe was a 50’s style dance club. If you look up while standing in front of the stage, you can still see some of the old artwork from that time.

Then in the mid 80’s the “Gary’s” got on board. The Gary’s were a couple promoters who started to book up and coming Canadian bands like The Hip and Blue Rodeo and that is what The Horseshoe still is to this day. A great venue to watch up and coming Canadian bands.

Totally Toronto airs weekday mornings on The Josie Dye Show at 6:25, 7:25 and 8:25am. If you have an idea for Totally Toronto please email totallytoronto@indie88.com

Pictures courtesy thehorseshoetavern.com, thelastpogo.net, torontopubliclibrary.net