Music is a vital part of Toronto’s identity. Our city is the largest centre of music in Canada and one of the most varied and vibrant music cities in the world.
Toronto’s music scene draws in people across the city, attracts visitors and artists, and engages with film, television, fashion, food, and interactive media. Music is a significant industry and a major cultural asset within the city of Toronto.
Toronto Music Directory
Need to find a local venue for your blues or salsa night? Want to find the nearest mastering facility to your recording studio? The new Toronto Music Directory has your answers.
The Toronto Music Directory is an interactive map and searchable catalogue of local music industry services, retailers, supporting organizations and venues, divided into the following key categories:
- Agents, managers, promoters
- Live music support
- Music organizations
- Music venues
- Recording studios
- Rehearsal spaces
Have a business to add to one of these categories? You can submit it for inclusion by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about individual venues' accessibility, please contact the venues themselves.
Music History Tours From Heritage Toronto
Heritage Toronto is presenting the next Music History on the Yonge Street Strip walking tour June 5.
You'll discover Yonge Street's music history beginning in the 1950s and will visit the sites of famous clubs and concert venues to hear stories of celebrated Toronto musicians.
The tour will run multiple times this season - Registration is required, just click the date link above, and your preferred date can then be selected from the registration's drop-down menu. Free tickets are available, though donations of $5 to $10 are encouraged and can be made online during registration or at the tour (cash-only).
This tour is sponsored by Downtown Yonge BIA.
Heritage Toronto, a registered charity formed in 1949 that helps people understand and appreciate Toronto's rich history, is presenting a walking tour of the Yorkville Music Scene June 23.
You'll visit sites of famous clubs and coffee houses where stars such as Joni Mitchell and Neil Young got their start.
Cost is $20 per person and space is limited. Registration is required - click the date link above.
The funds go to a good cause – they support programs that help people understand and appreciate Toronto's rich history, of which the Yorkville music scene is an important part! Please help spread the word so that more people can learn about Toronto's music history.
This page is your one-stop guide to information on and links to the following:
- The City of Toronto's objectives in supporting the music industry
- Music 311 and Live From City Hall programs and opportunities for musicians
- Enterprise Toronto's Business Support Eco-System Directory
- Financial Support for Musicians and Music Industry Stakeholders
- Toronto Public Library's Music Programs
- Live Music Listing Sites - Who's Playing Where
- Statistics and information about Toronto's Music Sector
- Economic and cultural strategies for advancing the music industry
- City Council reports and other official documents relevant to the growth and development of the music sector
The City of Toronto provides support to the local music community through its Film and Entertainment Industries team. This dedicated team can:
- facilitate links to other City departments (e.g., Transportation and Street Events, Parks Forestry & Recreation, Municipal Licensing & Standards, Event Support)
- provide business-to-business connections
- advise and provide consultation on business development, including help with related City processes and regulations
In addition, the City and the Toronto Music Advisory Council have created the Toronto Music Strategy, a comprehensive music plan to guide the music sector’s growth and development. This strategy was developed in close collaboration with the the music community and the public.
Music 311 and Live From City Hall
The City of Toronto is highlighting the talents of local musicians through two programs that feature live and recorded music.
Four times a year, we assemble a playlist of original music written and recorded by Toronto-based artists for call-hold playback on the City’s 311 customer service line.
Live from City Hall
We’re looking to book performers for a showcase series in the rotunda at City Hall, and for occasional opportunities at other City-managed venues. (Applications for the City Hall performance series may be submitted at any time, but the actual showcases are not scheduled to begin until fall 2015.)
If you are a Toronto-based musician and are interested in participating in one or both of these opportunities we encourage you to get involved.
Enterprise Toronto is a one-stop source to start and grow your small business.
Our team of small business advisors can help you make the right decisions during your business start-up and help develop your management capabilities as your business venture grows.
Services are free and include:
- Business idea analysis and guidance
- Reliable information including one-on-one business plan consultation
- Personal assistance with business registration, name searches and incorporation
- Advice on permits, licenses and regulatory requirements
- Coaching for a range of business challenges, from raising capital, managing cash flow and accounting to hiring and managing staff, marketing, social media and more
- Outstanding training and networking opportunities
- Referrals to other business support services, including incubators, government programs and shared workspaces
Find out more about Enterprise Toronto services.
Please note that funding, corporate sponsorship and co-branding are not currently among the core services provide by Film & Entertainment Industries' music sector portfolio.
If you are in search of financial support, please consider contacting the following organizations.
Factor provides support to Canadian recording artists, songwriters, managers, labels, publishers, event producers and distributors through various programs.
Toronto Arts Council provides grants to outstanding artists and arts organizations that contribute to the cultural life of the City of Toronto.
The Ontario Arts Council currently offers more than 65 granting programs to individual artists, collectives, ad hoc groups and organizations in twelve sectors
For Music Industry Stakeholders
As anchor community arts organizations in Toronto, they promote the arts at the local level, making them very much part of the daily fabric of community living and contribute to a vibrant community arts infrastructure in Toronto.
The Ontario Music Fund is designed to drive activity and investment and to support Ontario’s music companies and organizations in expanding their economic and cultural footprints within Canada and around the world.
Celebrate Ontario provides project-based programming and marketing funding to new or existing Ontario events to enhance programs, activities and services and support innovations that will lead to long-term improvements, sustainability and the attraction of additional tourists.
Toronto Public Library: Local Music Collection, Make Some Noise Concerts
& Sunlife Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library
Local Music Collection
Toronto Public Library’s Local Music Collection includes music from across Canada, with a focus on the Toronto area. CDs are located in 20 branches and can be borrowed or reserved online for pickup at your local library. Some Local Music albums are available for free streaming through the Toronto Public Library website. All you need is a Toronto Public Library card and an internet connection.
Make Some Noise Concerts
To celebrate the launch of the Local Music Collection in 2006 Toronto Public Library held two concerts featuring 10 Toronto artists, and they've been offering free Make Some Noise concerts—some big and some small—ever since. Performers have included Diamond Rings, F*cked Up, Shad, Ohbijou, Maylee Todd, and Bruce Peninsula. They also offer music-related workshops, discussion panels, author talks and film screenings.
- Upcoming concerts live in the stacks
- Bios, photos and videos from participating artists
- Recommended albums by local and Canadian artists
- Exhibits and film screenings devoted to local music culture
Sunlife Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library
The Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library is the first of its kind in the city, and also the first in public libraries across Canada! With generous support from Sun Life Financial through their Making the Arts More Accessible program, Toronto Public Library is offering a collection of musical instruments. The Parkdale branch has a collection of musical instruments you can borrow for free with your library card.
Call Parkdale staff at 416-393-7686 for more information or visit TPL's musical instrument library web page.
No matter what kind of music you enjoy or what kind of venue you like best, there's always something playing in Toronto.
Here are a few links to what's on:
- Now Toronto
- Just Shows
- Show Gophers
- Fusicology Toronto
- Ontario Live Music
- Toronto.com Concerts
- Concerts TO
- Whole Note
Please note that the City of Toronto is neither partnered with nor explicitly endorses the above music listing sites or their content. These sites have been selected as they represent a complementary balance of comprehensive, well-trafficked listing sites and curated genre-specific listing sites. If you would like us to consider an additional music listing site for inclusion on this page, please contact email@example.com.
- The Canadian music industry is clustered primarily around Toronto and the Toronto region, making it one of the most concentrated music sectors in North America.
- An economic impact study commissioned by Music Canada determined that the Canadian recording industry (including both foreign-owned and independent, Canadian-owned companies) had a total economic impact output of $400 million in 2010. About 80% of recording industry expenditure in Canada is in the Toronto region.
- The live music sector generates an estimated $455 million in revenues and contributes $252 million to the Canadian economy. Overall, the Canadian live music market has grown at an annual average rate of 6.4 per cent since 2010. Ontario's live music sector generates 80 per cent of total national revenues, up from 65 per cent in 2005.
- The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) reports that the independent, Canadian-owned music industry sector generated approximately $292 million in revenues in 2011 and contributed more than $300 million in GDP to the Canadian economy. The report found that more than 13,400 people are employed by the independent music industry in Canada.
- According to The Great Musical North (2009), a report done by the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, the Toronto music industry has a larger share of the region's employment than New York City and Austin, Texas.
Toronto's strength in the music industry comes from having high quality talent in all areas that make up the sector, including:
- recording and distribution
- artist associations
- business management (e.g. legal, financial) unions and guilds
- talent development firms
- marketing and promotion firms
- communications media (e.g. broadcasting, telecom, internet)
- software developers
- educational and training institutions
- financiers and funders.
Toronto is home to major record labels and festival promoters, many smaller independent record labels, numerous recording studios and live music venues, and a Toronto Music Sector, thriving music community with a balance of commercial and non-profit music initiatives; and most importantly a wealth of tremendously talented performers. The diversity of age, cultural background, life experience and music genre within this talent is also a critical driving force in Toronto's success in the music industry.
As the fourth largest city in North American, Toronto (population ~2.8 million) within a region of about 6 million (GTA) to 9 million (GGH), this diversity benefits Toronto by ensuring that there is a sizeable local market for every type of music and providing a unique platform for creativity and innovation through the fusion of different genres, styles and instruments.
City Council adopted a new economic strategy, Collaborating for Competitiveness: A Strategic Plan to Accelerate Economic Growth and Job Creation in Toronto, and a new culture strategy Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan for Toronto. Both strategic plans support initiatives to advance the music industry.
As is the case with a number of other sectors, one of the most significant barriers to success is the fragmented voice and activities of the music industry. Toronto is home to many talented individuals and firms in the various sub-sectors within the music industry, however, it lacks the connective tissue necessary to make the separate parts into a whole and realize its full potential.
In late 2013, work was initiated by City staff to develop the Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council and to formalize the Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance.
Read the Toronto Music Strategy: Supporting and Growing The City's Music Sector adopted unanimously with amendments by City Council on March 31, 2016.
Read the related City Council Item.