As if 2016 couldn’t have taken more away from us, the past several months have been devastating for Toronto music lovers, as beloved Toronto venues have been dropping like flies.
Sure there’s been a small number of new venues that have popped up recently, but over the last year the live music scene suffered an immeasurable loss with the closures of these unforgettable venues:
In January we had to say farewell to the Hoxton, an intimate space that had been a welcome sight at the corner of King and Bathurst for six years. The space, opposite of Toronto’s oldest bar The Wheat Sheaf was a go-to spot for EDM and hip hop fans. But, like most good things in Toronto, is (purportedly) to be turned into a rental development.
Notable acts: Zedd, Kaytranada, Skrillex and St. Lucia
Silver Dollar Room
After more will-they-won’t-they drama than How I Met Your Mother, The Silver Dollar Room closed their doors this May after much speculation that it would remain open as a heritage site. What began as a cocktail bar 59 years ago at the corner of Spadina and College, the Dollar became a venue to spot the best of Toronto’s rising talent. A mainstay for untested grunge, punk and rock bands, the legendary venue has since become synonymous with its music-scene pioneer and promoter Dan Burke, who has been at the helm of the venue’s programming for the better part of 20 years.
Notable Acts: Japandroids, Bob Dylan, METZ, Barenaked Ladies
Founded in 2003, Soybomb started as an indoor skateboarding facility. The space’s organizers would hire bands to play by the kitchen area while skateboarders kicked it on the indoor halfpipe. In recent years, bands became the main attractions, setting up to play on the flat of the ramps as bigger and bigger bands came through.
Notable Acts: Mount Eerie, FIDLAR, G.L.O.S.S
Sister venue to the popular Queen Street Restaurant Harlem Underground, Harlem shut their doors for the very last time this March. Inspired by the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, this half-restaurant and half-dancehall was a hotspot for all things Afro-Canadian and Afro-Caribbean culture. Harlem hosted art shows, film screenings in addition to hosting live music nights with the best in Jazz, Funk, Motown, Blues and R&B.
Hard Rock Cafe
The closure of the Hard Rock Cafe at the corner of Yonge and Dundas square marked a step in Toronto’s shameful obsession with replacing music and arts venues and other Toronto institutions (Sam the Record Man, Honest Ed’s) with chain stores and condos. HRC is being replaced by a Shoppers Drug Mart. In recent years, the Hard Rock Cafe was more of a tourist trap than a venue that promoted next-level bands, but in it’s prime had it’s fair share of rock ‘n’ rock’s most beloved figures.
Notable Acts: Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Featurette
Like a couple of the aforementioned venues on this list, the closure of The Central in the Mirvish village came as a part of a much bigger loss. Attached at the hip of Honest Ed’s, this beloved venue was the home for DIY and indie acts as much as it was for jazz bands looking for a lively crowd and cheap beer.
Main image via TheCentralTO via Instagram