The Top 6 Venues for Canadian Music Week 2017
Canadian Music Week is full of perks for music fans in Toronto, especially the 4 AM extended last-call at many bars and the unlimited access to shows that a CMW wristband provides.
Like most music festivals, CMW is a marathon, not a sprint. From experience, club-hopping every night can be an exhausting and expensive adventure. Instead of spending money on the TTC, taxis, or Ubers to get you from venue to venue, there’s nothing wrong with picking a place and planting yourself there for the night. Many showcases start as early as 8 PM and continue well into the night, making for an epic evening of live music, all in one place. Here is a breakdown of some of our favourite Toronto venues for CMW:
Surrounded by pubs and clubs, Adelaide Hall rests right in the middle of one of Toronto’s most vibrant bar-crawl areas. A short walk from the venue opens up a world of cheap drink deals, fast (and delicious) food, and a cast of eccentric characters that change on a nightly basis. Especially for those who want to spend all night at the venue, a quick snack at a hotdog cart or poutine place is just steps away. Adelaide Hall – a basement venue with a capacity of 500 people – plays host to a variety of local and visiting bands across all genres, but be prepared for a loud and upbeat crowd if the band is local. The lowered dance floor and raised stage offer perfect sightlines, whether you want to be up-close with your favourite new band or prefer to watch from the bar with a drink in hand.
Must-See Showcase: The Balconies w/ Ivory Hours – April 19th
Nestled in the heart of Queen Street West, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern needs no introduction. A staple in the Toronto music scene since 1947, The Horseshoe is one of many revered venues in the Queen West strip. The dive-bar vibe coupled with the checkerboard floors makes it the perfect place to catch a band – everything from acoustic singer-songwriters to handcore rock acts. As well, the front room boasts a pool table and host of TVs, which is ideal for sports fans who want to make sure they catch the Leafs/Raptors/Jays game while also enjoying live music. The Horseshoe is famous for its extended showcases during CMW, often having live bands play from 8 PM to 4 AM, which is perfect for those who enjoy a wide variety of genres and like to keep the party going as late as possible.
Must-See Showcase: The Beaches – April 21st
One of the best all-around venues in Toronto, the Rivoli combines a back-room music venue, sit-down restaurant, and upstairs pool hall to create a venue perfectly suited for long nights of live music and partying on Queen West. The back-room is an intimate space with a superb sound system – I’ve seen everything from acoustic (unamplified) sets to rowdy metal bands with crowd-surfers and mosh pits. For those who spend all evening at the venue, the restaurant offers a variety of delicious meals and pub-style food, and a game of pool upstairs is a great way to break up the night.
Must-See Showcase: Julia Jacklin – April 21st
Embracing up-and-coming rock bands, The Baby G has quickly developed a reputation as one of the best places to check out new talent in a small (but, often rowdy) environment. Although it is under a year old, the venue has already hosted a wide variety of promising acts across many genres, especially focusing on rock, folk, and indie artists. The relatively new venue has helped revitalize the Dundas West area, which has become a hotspot for pub-crawls and niche stores directed towards the music crowd. With a capacity hovering around 170 people, the venue is small enough to make any set feel packed – but not too packed – and offers a great mix of diehard and casual fans. Whether you like dancing, drinking, head-banging, or chilling at the bar, the venue has the perfect vibe for all music fans. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.
Must-See Showcase: Freak Heat Waves – April 22nd
With over 100 years of history in its walls, The Great Hall has earned its reputation as one of the best-sounding venues in the city. The Queen West venue showcases a refurbished Victorian design, including a massive main room and a seated balcony upstairs, allowing for perfect sightlines regardless of location. Although the 30 foot ceiling and epic chandelier don’t exactly embody rock n’ roll, the massive space is great for dancing and socializing, and the sound system is designed to fill the space without an issue. While it is often the venue for industry showcases and eclectic art shows, their CMW schedule is loaded with high-energy bands that are sure to have the place rocking.
Must-See Showcase: Dune Rats w/ Hockey Dads and more – April 19th
The future of the Silver Dollar is, at the moment, uncertain. Although it is scheduled for closing at the end of April, there have been rumours of revival at some point in time, but nothing more concrete than that. Founded in 1958, the Silver Dollar has been a mainstay in the Toronto scene for decades – often seen as a “right-of-passage” venue for a lot of local, up-and-coming bands. Regardless of what happens after the renovations, one of Toronto’s best venues will never truly be the same. CMW could be your last chance to experience the incredible energy at this cherished College & Spadina location.
Must-See Showcase: Japanese Breakfast w/ Heaven For Real – April 20th
For more information about CMW, check out their website here.