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Thank You, Toronto!

December 19th, 2016

As we turn the page on another landmark year for Toronto music, we wanted to take this opportunity to announce that 4479 Toronto – an initiative of Music Canada to position Toronto as one of the greatest Music Cities in the world – will be ceasing operations.

4479 Toronto was created with input from a broad cross-section of the music community in Toronto, following the release of the 2012 report Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth, Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas. Since launching at NXNE 2013 with the support of Music Canada’s members, Sony Music Canada, Warner Music Canada and Universal Music Canada, we are proud to have assisted with the growth of Toronto as a Music City.

Over the years we have gathered support for our goals from labels, studios, venue owners, musicians, and – most importantly – music fans. Bridging the gap between the music community and City Hall, 4479 helped champion many of Toronto’s music-friendly policies that have come to fruition. Some of the accomplishments we are proud to have influenced include:

  • October 2013 – Then-Toronto Mayor Rob Ford travels to Austin, Texas, to sign the Music City Alliance, with then-Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. Various Toronto music sector stakeholders, city councillors, and Toronto media representatives participate in the mission. The Alliance drives economic and cultural development opportunities in both cities by sharing best practices, developing new trade and tourism initiatives, and fostering expanded collaboration between the two cities’ respective music communities.
  • December 2013 – Based on our recommendation for creating a music advisory board, City Council approves the establishment of the Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council. Made up of city councillors and industry stakeholders and reporting to the city’s Economic Development Committee, the advisory council provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and advice on the challenges and opportunities facing the city’s music community. The advisory council produced Toronto’s first comprehensive music strategy which was unanimously approved by City Council on April 5, 2016.
  • July 2014 – Following the Save Our Sign campaign led by 4479 featuring letters written by artists like Geddy Lee, Gord Downie, Feist, and Anne Murray, City Council votes to have Sam The Record Man sign reassembled by Ryerson University on the roof of the Toronto Public Health Building at 277 Victoria St., to tower above Yonge-Dundas Square.
  • October 2014 – The City of Toronto hires Mike Tanner, former Director of Operations at NXNE, as the first Music Sector Development Officer to help support and enhance the City’s relationship with the music sector, as well as facilitate economic growth, export development and job creation.
  • June 2015 – 4479 partners with Downtown Yonge BIA to curate Play the Parks, a free all-ages performance program which transforms the area’s parks and public spaces. The summer concert series attracted approximately 35,000 people in June through September 2015, doubling the series’ 2014 attendance. Our partnership was highlighted in DYBIA’s Music Strategy, which also outlined plans for Yonge Street’s music history preservation. A 22 storey music legends mural is currently under construction, and plaques have been installed commemorating iconic venues like The Bluenote and Town Tavern.
  • June 2016 – Toronto hosts the Toronto-Austin Music Business Trade summit, bringing together stakeholders from both cities to exchange ideas and best practices. The summit is expected to continue in 2017.

Music Canada, which highlighted Toronto’s efforts in the Mastering Of A Music City report, will continue to campaign for music-friendly and musician-friendly policies in Toronto while pushing for similar policy changes in other major Canadian municipalities.

We hope the work we’ve put in to growing Toronto’s reputation as a world-renowned Music City will contribute to our city’s future, and that we will continue to see the momentum carried forward by Mayor John Tory and members of Toronto City Council, the Toronto Music Advisory Council, and our passionate music community.

As we play our final chord, we would like to thank the many individuals and organizations who supported the concept of our Music City campaign; Tourism Toronto for recognizing our efforts; do416 for choosing us as an influencer; our many live music partners including Collective Concerts, Live Nation, NXNE, Canadian Music Week, and Wavelength Music Festival; and the decision makers at City Hall who continue to prioritize music in this city.

Lastly, we would like to thank every one of you who tweeted to your councillor and voiced your support of our music scene with the #TOMusicCity hashtag. With enough support, City Hall began to take notice, and our City’s music scene is in a better position today because of you.


City of Toronto teams up with Indie Week and Music Ontario for free licensing panel and showcase

November 14th, 2016


On Wednesday November 16, 2016, the City of Toronto’s Film & Entertainment unit is partnering with Indie Week and Music Ontario to present a free info session for composers, songwriters, music creators, and musicians on generating income via sync placement and song licensing.

The event, which requires an RSPV, will take place during Indie Week at Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue, 5pm – 7pm, and will feature the following panelists:

Cheryl Link – Peer Music

Heather Gardner – Vapor Music

Michael Perlmutter – Instinct Entertainment

Leonard Farlinger – New Real Films

Following the event, Indie Week will present their 1st Annual Artist Mega Showcase featuring Live From City Hall alumni Ginger Ale & The Monowhales, with Brad Fillatre, Jillea, and more to be announced.

For more information and to RSVP to the free session, visit Indie Week’s event page.

Council to consider motion to protect Toronto’s music venues

November 3rd, 2016

Japandroids performing at Toronto's legendary Horseshoe Tavern, which celebrates its 69th birthday this year.

Japandroids performing at Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern, which celebrates its 69th birthday this year. (Photo credit: Bram Gonshor)

Toronto City Councillors Josh Colle and John Filion are proposing a motion to Council that would protect the city’s live music venues from the threat of development and make it easier for new live music venues to establish themselves in the city.

“The City of Toronto is North America’s third largest and Canada’s largest music market, having an estimated economic impact of at minimum $700 million per year,” says the motion. “However, the City of Toronto’s rapid gentrification and redevelopment could negatively impact its live music industry.” Development such as the city is currently experiencing drives up property values and the rents that music venues must pay. It also can lead to confrontations between new residential neighbourhoods and pre-established live music venues.

The motion contains six recommendations, which ask “City Council to direct the General Manager, Economic Development and Culture and the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to:

  1. develop a co-ordinated strategy to preserve existing live music venues in the City of Toronto;
  2. designate senior staff members in the City Planning, Municipal Licensing and Standards and Toronto Building Divisions to act as liaisons with the City’s Film and Entertainment Industries staff to provide advice to individuals or organizations wishing to establish music venues;
  3. examine changes to regulatory frameworks to encourage the establishment of both traditional and temporary (pop-up) new live music venues in Toronto, such examination to include whether such venues could be included in employment land use categories;
  4. review strategies which have been successfully used in other jurisdictions, including financial incentives, to support live music venues;
  5. create an inventory of live music venues currently operating in the City of Toronto; and
  6. consult with the Toronto Music Advisory Council and other industry stakeholders on a to e above,and report to the Toronto Music Advisory Council and the Economic Development Committee as soon as possible in 2017.”

This is a strong proposal which recognizes that the challenges facing Toronto’s live music venues are two-sided. The issue is not just keeping existing venues from closing, but ensuring that the city is a place where entrepreneurs and businesspeople can open new venues and contribute to our vibrant music scene and music economy.

This motion will be considered by Toronto City Council on November 8, 2016.

Read the motion to council.

Live From City Hall returns to rotunda this Thursday with free live music and funding discussion panel

October 24th, 2016


Following an exciting summer of free outdoor performances in Nathan Philips Square, Live From City Hall returns to the first floor rotunda this Thursday for another amazing season of music and informative panel discussions.

On Thursday October 27, Live From City Hall, presented by TD with support from Music Canada, will feature performances by alt country band Bryce Jardine and the Parlour Birds (5:00pm), and R&B/soul/jazz artist Bridgette Anderson (6 PM).

Following the show, the Toronto Music Advisory Council and Toronto Arts Council invites the city’s music community to stick around for “Meet the Funders,” a free panel discussion exploring funding opportunities for musicians, music producers, and others in the industry.

Along with Mike Tanner (Music Sector Development Officer, City of Toronto), the panel will feature guests from the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Media Development Corporation and FACTOR. A Q&A and group discussion will follow the panel at approximately 8:15pm.

For those interested in attending the panel, it is encouraged you RSVP to prior to the start of the performances. For more information, view the graphic below.


New 22-storey mural to honour Yonge Street’s musical history

September 30th, 2016


A rendering of Adrian Hayles’ music mural looking SE on Yonge St. (Photo courtesy of DYBIA)

On Wednesday afternoon, the Downtown Yonge BIA revealed plans for a new 22-storey mural by artist Adrian Hayles celebrating the musical history of the iconic Toronto strip.

Located on the north side of the Toronto Community Housing building at 423 Yonge Street, the soaring mural will feature prominent figures of Yonge Street’s music scene in the 1950’s and 60’s. Gordon Lightfoot and Ronnie Hawkins, who are featured on the mural, joined Downtown Yonge’s Executive Director & CSO Mark Garner and journalist Nicholas Jennings to introduce the mural.

Legendary venues such as Le Coq d’Or and Massey Hall, and the dual neon discs of the famed Sam the Record Man sign, will also be prominently featured alongside the faces of the era’s music luminaries Glenn Gould, Diane Brooks, Jackie Shane, Muddy Waters, Shirley Matthews, B.B. King, and Oscar Peterson.

Hayles’ dazzling 70-metre mural is part of the Downtown Yonge BIA’s music strategy, which launched last summer in an attempt to re-establish the area as a ‘Music Mecca.’ The mural also falls in line with the results of the BIA’s Yonge Love consultation, which found a desire for more public art in the area.

“Music is obviously a big part of our past, but Downtown Yonge’s musical presence is not just historical,” Garner says. “There are currently 14 live performance venues in the area, and we are delighted to add to the sweet sounds of the neighbourhood through Play the Parks – music programming in parks and public places.”

Earlier this summer, Hayles also revealed a mural at Oakwood Avenue and Eglinton Avenue West along Reggae Lane. The Yonge Street mural will take three months to complete, and is expected to be fully interactive through a smart phone app. A full rendering of the mural can be viewed here.