Delve back into the musical history of Toronto and Vancouver with these two books
Whether you lived it, or missed it, the nightlife scene in both Toronto and Vancouver has been legendary. From nightclubs and after-hours speakeasy bars, to live music venues and dance emporiums, each city has had an extensive musical history. Now, there are two books that superbly document everything that’s happened over the past several decades
The Flyer Vault – 150 Years of Toronto Concert History
Rob Bowman and Daniel Tate
With a forward by Geddy Lee, lead singer of Rush
Duke Ellington. Johnny Cash. David Bowie. Nirvana. Bob Marley. Wu-Tang Clan. Daft Punk. These are just some of the legendary names that played Toronto over the last century. Drawing from Daniel Tate’s extensive flyer collection, first archived on his Flyer Vault Instagram account, Tate and Rob Bowman have assembled a time capsule that captures a mesmerizing history of Toronto concert and club life, running the gamut of genres from vaudeville to rock, jazz to hip-hop, blues to electronica, and punk to country.
The Flyer Vault: 150 Years of Toronto Concert History traces seminal live music moments in the city, including James Brown’s debut performance in the middle of a city-wide blackout, a then-unknown Jimi Hendrix backing up Wilson Pickett in 1966 — the year a new band from London named Led Zeppelin performed in Toronto six times — and the one and only show by the Notorious B.I.G., which almost caused a riot in the winter of 1995.
Complementing the book’s flyers is the story of the music, highlighting such iconic venues as Massey Hall, the Concert Hall/Rock Pile/Club 888, and the BamBoo, alongside lesser-known but equally important clubs such as Industry Nightclub and the Edge.
Available from Dundurn
Vancouver After Dark – The Wild History of a City’s Nightlife
In his latest book, bestselling author, musician, and cultural historian Aaron Chapman looks back at the most famous music entertainment venues in Vancouver, a city that’s transforming so fast it has somehow lost some of its favourite nightspots along the way. These are the places locals are still talking about years after they closed, burned down, or were bulldozed in the face of new trends, rising rents, gentrification, and other vagaries. This raucous book tours Vancouver’s legendary hot spots, from the Cave to Isy’s, Oil Can Harry’s to the Marco Polo, the Luv-A-Fair, the Town Pump, the Smilin’ Buddha, and Gary Taylor’s Rock Room, from the city’s earliest saloons to the Chinatown cabarets, punk palaces, East End dives, goth hideaways, discotheques, and taverns. Archival posters and photos, many published for the first time, chronicle how the city’s nightlife changed with times, and how some of these nightspots ushered in changes to Vancouver. Are the great days of Vancouver’s nightlife behind us? Or does it endure in new side streets and new spaces and new forms that have resisted the changes in other parts of the city? Now’s the time to look back at the nightspots that shaped Vancouver, and how its residents shaped those venues.
Replete with full-colour photographs and posters from back in the day, Vancouver after Dark is a no-holds-barred history that amply demonstrates how this was never “No Fun” City – at least once the sun went down.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.