Known as an artist neighborhood in the late 1990s, early 2000s, with many calling this area home in run down or abandoned buildings, Liberty Village has certainly undergone a transformation. But still holding on to its artistic roots, the community has since expanded enormously to embrace creativity in many shapes and forms from technology, to media, PR, and even music. Yes, music.
Mayor John Tory has proclaimed that Toronto is a music city (as noted on his official website). We are home to many international artists including Drake, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara. We have amazing music and concert venues, and are often a key stop for many artists while on tour. So what makes Liberty Village a music hub? Many national brands and organizations have set up their headquarters in this neighbourhood. While many flying under the radar, when they are all added up, there are some heavy hitters there. Liberty Village is a key component to the business side of the music industry.
Power in numbers, right? Music Canada, located at 85 Mowat Ave, is a not-for-profit organization. They promote and protect music. There are so many different ingredients that are needed to make music happen besides the end product many of us hear on the radio, iTunes, Spotify, etc. Music Canada has vested interests in “…all aspects of the recording industry, including the manufacture, production, promotion, and distribution of music.” One of the most recognizable efforts that they do are awarding the gold/platinum awards program for best selling recordings in Canada.
The most recent music group to join Liberty Village is The Canadian Academy of Recording Artists, better known for The JUNOs. Calling 219 Dufferin their new home, they are a non-profit organization “…created to preserve and enhance the Canadian music industry and to contribute toward higher artistic and industry standards.” The JUNOs are the most prestigious Canadian music award, and has been recognizing artists since 1975. Almost every year, new categories are added to reflect the ever evolving musical landscape.
National Brand Headquarters
To make music, production equipment and instruments are needed. Two international brands have set up their Canadian main offices here in Liberty Village. Gibson Guitar has been here for over 10 years. Originally occupying an enormous space, they have since downsized but have ensured to stay within the community at 60 Atlantic. Ave. Gibson Guitar originated in 1974 for the specific manufacturing and production of their Les Paul guitar. They have since vastly expanded and can be found with major international artists.
Moving into the Toronto Carpet Factory in the summer of 2016, Roland Canada has set up their Eastern Canada show room and office here in Toronto. Roland carries a wide range of musical instruments from ear phones to pianos to DJ turn tables, drums and so much more. An in-house music artist management and development group is also run through Roland. Big name artists like Drake’s producer 40 has relied on Roland to ensure that his equipment is in tip top condition.
Music on the Airwaves
Not one, not two but three radio stations operate out of this neighbourhood, plus one national satellite radio company. All of them offering up a different genres of music, yet calling Liberty Village their home base. Indie88 is a small yet mighty station that operates out of a converted house. Giving up and coming independent artists a chance, they play many of their songs on air. Jazz FM is a not for profit jazz music station, with award winning on air personalities and having a very big philanthropic component to their operations. Zoomer Radio is a station that plays timeless hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s and have other subsidiary stations that reach across Ontario and into the US. Lastly, Sirius XM offers a variety of satellite radio stations suited to almost anyone’s needs.
While the area may be known for its slew of pubs and never-ending construction of high-rises, there is actually so much culture, history and music within the village. As artists produce their next big hit or album, they should factor in paying a visit to some of these great musical organizations in Liberty Village to see what other programs or connections can be made to help further their success.
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