Canada Music Culture


Toronto's best jazz clubs
Great nightlife in a swinging city

Visiting Toronto? You'll find live jazz 365 days a year in select clubs, not to mention concerts scattered about the city during six annual jazz festivals. Toronto's reputation for great jazz in clubs, concert halls and main stages has thrived since the historic day when the city's jazz scene vaulted to international status on May 15, 1953. That's when Massey Hall was the setting for a show since dubbed "The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever." It featured five of the seminal bebop giants: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach.

Toronto recently scored high in a recent international online poll of jazz aficionados run by According to the website's Toronto-based editor, Bill King (who, incidentally, is also director of Canada's National Jazz Awards), Toronto ranks second for "the world's most extraordinary nightlife" behind first-place New York and ahead of New Orleans (third) and Paris (fourth).

If you miss any of the festivals, don't fret. Year round, Toronto boasts three jazz clubs entirely dedicated to presenting the most stellar names in jazz - the Montreal Bistro, Top o' the Senator and the Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar - places at which it's not unusual to find the likes of Wynton Marsalis jamming.

Find out who's playing where:

Jazz festivals and current gigs: and

Jazz Clubs
Montreal Bistro: 65 Sherbourne St. Phone: (416) 363-0179.
Top o' the Senator: 249 Victoria St. Phone: (416) 364-7517.
The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar: 194 Queen St. W. Phone: (416) 598-2475
Hooch: 817 Queen St. W. Phone: (416) 703-5069
AlleyCatz Live Jazz Bar: 2409 Yonge Street. Phone: (416) 481-6865
C'est What: 67 Front St. E. Phone: (416) 867-9499

Books about jazz in Canada
Mark Miller's Charlie Parker in Canada, 1953; Jazz in Canada; Fourteen Lives;
and The Miller Companion to Jazz in Canada and Canadians in Jazz
Geoffrey Hayden's Quintet of the Year.

Ontario Tourism: 1-800-668-2746 or
Tourism Toronto: 1-800-363-1990 or




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