Smiling Buddha
By YP Contributor

Buddha’s Delight

The Smiling Buddha is a College and Dovercourt bar storied in the music history of Toronto. The venue has hosted countless emerging local music acts for several years. Independent bands — with a tendency towards rock and punk — have flourished within the walls of The Buddha.

“We do a lot of live music — we have live music seven nights a week,” says Lucan Wai, the owner and operator of The Buddha. The bar also offers opportunities for other eclectic types of performers to showcase their acts: “We’ve also branched out, so now we have two comedy shows and we do a monthly poetry event on the last Wednesday of every month.”

The Smiling Buddha offers a snack bar menu for evening shows and a delicious weekend brunch consisting of all-you-can-eat waffles on Saturdays and Sundays for $5.95. The ambience and warmth of the venue makes for an enjoyable weekend visit.

We do a lot of live music — we have live music seven nights a week. - Lucan Wai, owner and operator
The Smiling Buddha - Live music, comedy, alcohol, snack bar, weekend brunch, all-you-can-eat waffles
Lucan Wai is the owner of The Smiling Buddha. Photo by Brian J. D’Souza.

Enlightened Businessman

Lucan has a pedigree more suited to the corporate world than to running a bar. Upon graduation from Wilfrid Laurier University’s respected business program, he worked as an accountant in Toronto. “That job helped me pay the bills, but I was very adventurous,” says Lucan. “I was always searching for something exciting out there.”

Despite the security and financial rewards available in the corporate world, Lucan was bitten by the travel bug and soon found himself abroad. “I spent four years working for a real estate developer in Eastern Europe,” Lucan recalls.

On his return, he began to accrue business experience by managing a family enterprise before he took over The Smiling Buddha in 2014.

The Smiling Buddha - Live music, comedy, alcohol, snack bar, weekend brunch, all-you-can-eat waffles
Photo by Brian J. D’Souza.

Boldly Going Forward

While sweat-drenched music acts serenade crowds of adoring youngsters, The Buddha is much more than a venue space — it’s a cultural landmark that blends the history of Toronto’s music scene with the current trends and acts who are both established and just starting out in that scene.

New investment in the bar’s infrastructure as well as the booking of more well-known bands is allowing for the growth of the facility.

“We put in a new sound system and we’re getting bigger and bigger acts,” notes Lucan. “More importantly, we’re helping to showcase some of the city’s best talent.”

The Smiling Buddha - Live music, comedy, alcohol, snack bar, weekend brunch, all-you-can-eat waffles
Photo by Brian J. D’Souza.
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