1.1 Yonge Street and the Downtown Core
Play • 41 min

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. 

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