Our top picks for Canadian Music Week in Toronto

From May 1 to 10, Canadian Music Week celebrates the very best of Canada’s music, media and entertainment industries. With performances at over 60 venues across downtown Toronto, there are plenty of places to catch homegrown talent and international acts on stage. Here are a few of our favourite spots to enjoy great brands (and extended liquor licenses) during the festival.

The Bovine Club

1
542 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2B5

Don’t let the name fool you; this longstanding club on the Queen West strip is all about the music. This iconic venue first opened in 1991 and is easily recognizable to locals thanks to the sculptural clusters of scrap metal and bicycle parts adorning the exterior wall. The bar is hosting live music throughout Canadian Music Week and offers a party-like atmosphere (did we mention they serve Jägermeister on tap?). Expect the unexpected during the Monster Energy House showcase on May 9, with performances by Hollywood Glitter Rock band Hammered Satin and Japanese four-piece acid punk band Bo Ningen.

The Music Hall

2
147 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1N2

YouTube sensations Walk Off The Earth gained a cult following with their low-budget cover video of Gotye’s “Someone I Used to Know” back in early 2012. The five-piece band from Burlington, Ontario will play the Danforth Music Hall on Wednesday, May 6, to show off their creative covers and original songwriting. The historic concert hall is an impressive multi-level space that was originally constructed as a movie theatre back in 1919. The theatre is conveniently located along the busy Greektown strip – so there are plenty of spots to grab a gyro or souvlaki stick before or after the show.

Cadillac Lounge

3
1296 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L4

This beloved Parkdale dive bar is known for its live music scene and sprawling open-air back patio that’s filled with west end locals during the summer months. The bar is hosting multi-act performances throughout Canadian Music Week, with a special Country Showcase on Friday, May 8. Slip on your cowboy boots, order a pint and enjoy eight up-and-coming Canadian country artists, including Raquel Cole, Myria Webber, Anthony Tullo and award-winning singer/songwriter Kate Todd. Arrive early if you want to sample the Cadillac Lounge’s food menu, which offers burgers, chicken wings, poutine and plenty of classic pub-grub options.

Sony Centre For The Performing Arts

4
1 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1B2

Former Oasis front man Noel Gallagher takes the stage at this downtown performing arts venue for back-to-back shows on May 3 and 4 with his new band, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The shows are part of the Canadian Music Week Concert Lottery, which means wristband holders have a chance to guarantee their spot at the show without waiting in line. Also on the schedule: John Mellencamp’s Plain Spoken Tour takes place May 1 and 2; indie-pop rockers Death Cab for Cutie play on May 7; and San Francisco rock band Faith No More will play on May 9.

Shangri-La Hotel Toronto

5
180 University Avenue, Toronto, ON M5H 0A2

A little more refined than some of Canadian Music Week’s grungier dive-bar venues, this swank hotel is hosting free shows all week long in its chic downtown lobby on University Avenue. Catch the warm soulful acoustics of Duane Forrest & Co. on May 1 and 7; singer-songwriter Cary Shields on May 4; and award-winning R&B/pop singer Daniella Watters on May 9. Shows take place in the evening and are a great pre- or post-dinner entertainment option when paired with at meal at Bosk, the hotel’s Asian-inspired dining room, or the more affordable bowls of ramen noodles at Momofuku next door.

Drake Hotel

6
1150 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J3

This West Queen West boutique hotel is a self-proclaimed hotbed for Toronto’s arts and culture scene, especially during Canadian Music Week. The hip hotel is hosting a number of musical performances at its Underground basement bar throughout the week, including American gospel and soul singer Leon Bridges on May 1 and rising electro-pop star Verite on May 7. If you’re a fan of female talent from across the pond, visit on May 10 to check out the special Best of British Women Showcase with Cleo, Lady Lykez, Lady Leshurr and DJ Melody Kane.

Revival Bar

7
783 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1C5

There’s a lot happening throughout Canadian Music Week at this popular College Street hangout with musical performances scheduled almost every night of the week. If you’re looking for something a little different, stop by on May 8 for the annual Korean K-Pop Night Out music showcase. The international lineup features four-member boy band Lunafly, progressive Korean hip-hop artists Verbal Jint and Illionaire, and disco/funk soul band Sultan of Disco who bring colourful costumes and plenty of energy to their funky stage performances.

Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel

8
123 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5H 2M9

The Grand Ballroom at this Queen Street Hotel hosts the CHUM FM Fanfest event on May 8 with big name acts from Canada and beyond. The all-star lineup includes “Rude” crooner MAGIC!, Lights, Kiesza and Grammy award-winning songstress Colbie Caillat. Trevor Guthrie, Shawn Hook and Francesco Yates will also be performing during this special fan-only event. The Sheraton Centre Grand Ballroom also plays host to SiriusXM Indies – the 15th Annual Independent Music Awards – on May 9 with headliner Billy Talent.

Rivoli

9
332 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A2

If you’re looking for eats and beats then pay a visit to this Queen West pool hall throughout the festival to catch Canadian musicians hailing from coast to coast. On May 8, the Music B.C. Showcase highlights west coast talent like four-piece pop rock band Rococode and indie punk rockers Hot Panda. The following night, Music Nova Scotia offers a taste of the east coast music scene with Vogue Dots, Glory Glory, In-Flight Safety, Like a Motorcycle and The Brood.

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