Canadian Music Week: 7 Venues to Watch

Review by Martha Segovia

The annual weeklong celebration of Canadian and international artists will make its return next month. With historic venues like the storied Massey Hall and El Mocambo undergoing a facelift with the latter to open soon. As music venues in the City of Toronto have undergone changes, you’ll be seeing some new additional venues to discover this May. Here are some venues both new and old hosting CMW shows that deserve a shout-out for their continuous capacity to host music lovers alike.


  1. The Great Hall: As the name suggests, the long-standing venue at the corner of Dovercourt Rd. and Queen St. in the bountiful West Queen West neighborhood offers patrons a traditional canvas intertwined with the modern. The venue’s origins paint a multi-purpose history with most recently offering a quaint space for lively events from wedding receptions to folk-rock shows. The Great Hall will host Live Nation showcases throughout the week.


  1. Bovine Sex Club: The Bovine Sex Club has proved to be a staple for punk shows. With its grungy exterior, the long-standing Queen St. West venue has hosted patrons like Guns N Roses and Motley Crue. With its known rock formation, the venue will host the likes of DJ Teenage Warewolf, and Film School for an array of showcases.


  1. Lee’s Palace: Much like the Bovine Sex Club, Lee’s Palace in the Annex is also noted for its eclectic exterior with its colorful façade. This is a venue that can’t be missed during the CMW festivities. Toronto’s Lee’s Palace will be the site for headlining acts Sunflower Bean, and Lemonheads. Lee’s Palace continues to build an argument to support and preserve such historic cultural sites.


  1. Horseshoe Tavern: Another storied site in the Canadian music landscape is the Horseshoe Tavern. The current holders behind Collective Concerts, own Lee’s Palace and Horseshoe Tavern too. The ownership group upholds the importance of such cultural sites in their respective bustling neighborhoods. The Horseshoe Tavern has existed as a rocket site of discovery for a laundry list of Canadian acts including the Tragically Hip and Our Lady Peace. The ‘shoe tips its hat to its saloon origins in its renderings throughout all these years, it will host Danko Jones, and Nick Waterhouse this May.


  1. Supermarket: Located in another popular neighborhood, Supermarket in Kensington Market serves in its multi-purpose function as a bar and cozy restaurant. The supermarket will serve smaller acts in its intimate stage area. If you’re looking for a dinner and a show, this venue serves as both for your music-loving needs.


  1. Amsterdam Brewhouse: Nestled on the Queens Quay by the lakeshore, the 14,000 square feet brewhouse offers an alternative venue space. With a slew of brew options, the brewhouse will surely note an exciting and enticing time during the CMW festivities. Catch various showcases between May 9th– 11th, with artists like Kallemi, Ella Mar, and Water and Man taking the stage.


  1. The Rec Room: Similarly, the Rec Room has become a newly encompassing multi-use entertainment space. Recently, the concert hall area of the massive locale has hosted music sets to rival the existing music venues in the city. With a boisterous Alexisonfire set in February to note, the Rec Room will serve as an intimate venue amongst the city’s best-kept secrets.


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