Legendary Music Clubs Commemorated on Yonge Street in Toronto

Two of Toronto’s most iconic music venues will be forever remembered on Yonge St., with plaques celebrating the Town Tavern and The Bluenote. The Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area and Heritage Toronto unveiled the plaques at a special ceremony last night, joined by musicians who performed at the legendary clubs.

“In the 1960s and 1970s, Yonge Street was the beating heart of Toronto’s musical and cultural scene,” says Downtown Yonge BIA Executive Director Mark Garner. “The Town Tavern and The Bluenote were two of the beacons for generations of Toronto music fans.”

The Town Tavern, just off Yonge at 16 Queen Street East, was a revered jazz venue for decades, while The Bluenote at Yonge and Gerrard was a cathedral for rock and blues artists – and their fans.

“Bars and clubs like the Town Tavern and The Bluenote were incubators for now-legendary Canadian talent,” says Kaitlin Wainwright, Interim Executive Director of Heritage Toronto. “Heritage Toronto and the Downtown Yonge BIA are proud to be creating permanent tributes to celebrate their legacy.”

The plaque unveiling took place at a special event at the Hard Rock Cafe – itself on the site of the legendary Friar’s and Nickelodeon clubs. Performers at the event included George Olliver, Jay and Shawne Jackson, JoAnn Brooks and Bobby Dean Blackburn, legendary artists who cut their musical teeth on the iconic stages being celebrated.

The plaques, in partnership with Heritage Toronto, are part of the Downtown Yonge BIA’s Music Strategy, an ambitious, multi-pronged plan to re-establish the area as a ‘Music Mecca.’

“Music is obviously a big part of our past, and we are working to reinvigorate Downtown Yonge’s musical presence, today and in the future,” Garner says.