Will Toronto Achieve Its Ambition of Becoming a “Music City?”

Spoiler: yes.

Sorry, Rest of Canada, but Toronto is the centre of the universe when it comes to music in this country. All the head offices are here, the biggest music scene in the country thrives here, both Canadian Music Week and NXNE are staged here and it’s the most important tour stop in the nation both for domestic and international acts. In short, outside of Quebec (which is a fascinating and fantastic entity all unto itself), Toronto is the engine that drives music in Canada.

That’s not a boast. It’s a fact.

It’s also a fact that Toronto needs to do more to promote itself as one of the most vibrant and exciting music cities on the planet. Up until now, it hasn’t done a very good job, mainly because there’s been no one and nothing to coordinate things.  That, however, is changing.

Start with this Blog.TO story on a public meeting held to discuss a recent Music City proposal chaired by Mike Tanner, Toronto’s Music Sector Development Officer, an actual position inside City Hall.

Then consider the following:

  • The massive redevelopment of Massey Hall which will create a hub of music activity in the heart of the city–an incubator sort of situation–that will be open to all sectors of the music community.
  • The new Daniels development on Queens Quay on the site of the old Guvernment. The people in charge of that project are coordinating a lot of the music industry-related facilities that will be in these buildings with the folks running the Massey Hall redevelopment to compliment their respective situations rather than compete.
  • The announcement that the Ontario Music Fund is now a permanent thing.
  • And perhaps most intriguingly, a growing group of private investors (I, for some reason, happen to be plugged into this group) who have hundreds of millions they might want to spend on enhancing the whole idea of Toronto as a music city.

With a little luck and patience, I think we’ll see Toronto really come into its own much like we see we Austin, Nashville and Manchester. Cross your fingers.

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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