Yelian Garcia Talks Toronto’s Top Jazz Spots
Whether you’re visiting Toronto, or are a resident of the city, its wealth of entertainment and dining venues, bars and breweries are enough to keep you busy for a long time. If you’re looking for a swinging evening, you can check out one of the city’s many music venues, including some of the top jazz bars and festivals in North America.
Alive with jazz talent, the city has an impressive lineup of jazz training institutions, including Humber College and the University of Toronto. Whether it’s enjoying the sounds of established musicians or new stars, a night on the town is never wasted. Avid jazz fan — Yelian Garcia provides his tips on where to find the best beats this summer:
Jazz Festivals — Toronto is well known for two prominent international jazz festivals that attract visitors from around the globe each year. The 10-day Toronto Jazz Festival kicks off the summer in June, with thousands of musicians playing at 40+ spots across the area; including free concerts. In July, jazz fans head to the Beaches International Jazz Festival, another free event that features a variety of musicians and sounds, including Latin and blues.
Monarch’s Pub (Gerard St.) is situated inside the downtown Delta Chelsea Hotel and is home to upbeat, unforgettable jazz and blues acts nightly.
The Orbit Room (College St.) was founded in Little Italy by guitarist Alex Lifeson and still shows a variety of jazz, blues, and rock acts several nights a week. Come on Fridays to see local legends take the stage and mix with a diverse crowd of local music fans.
Jazz Bistro (Victoria St.) is now open in the same location as its famous predecessor Top O’ The Senator and features great food, unforgettable music, and a piano named “Red Pops.”
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada (Bremner Blvd) offers jazz nights on the second Friday of the month, where you can enjoy an after hours experience at the aquarium, cash bar and live music.
The Rex Hotel (Queen St.) showcases live jazz every night, featuring local musicians and international stars. The bar’s causal feel and affordable menu is not to be missed and the venue has been entertaining guests for more than 40 years.
Hugh’s Room (Dundas St.) is well known for both its food and as an entertaining music venue. Its candlelit tables provide the perfect ambiance for the vibrant jazz sounds you’re sure to hear. The venue has been open since the 1990s and has hosted many famous performers, from Judy Collins to Alan Doyle. Purchase your tickets in advance.
The Reservoir Lounge (Wellington St.) offers jazz fans a great experience in a hip downtown setting. The venue may be best known helping Michael Bublé get started, but it’s still rocking out nightly.
The Gate 403 Bar and Grill (Roncesvalles Ave.) serves pub food in a shabby, piano-bar setting. It also serves up jazz and blues daily via a comfortable, walk-up environment. Known for the quirky performance space, it places the musicians in the center of the restaurant.
Jazz 91.1 FM — If a night in is on the calendar, don’t miss Toronto’s 24-hour jazz radio station for upbeat tunes daily.
Whatever your scene, Toronto offers a wide range of entertainment venues. Between live bars and festivals, individuals have endless options when it comes to enjoying a night on the town!
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