Published August 13, 2014 I am pleased to announce that North York Community Council approved my motion for a laneway naming at our meeting yesterday.
To recognize the area's rich music history, the laneway located south of Eglinton Avenue West and extending easterly from Oakwood Avenue will now be called “Reggae Lane.”
The City's policy for naming civic properties provided a great opportunity to honour and promote the area's music heritage. Last year, I invited the community's feedback on naming a laneway in the Eglinton Avenue West area and received overwhelming support for the name “Reggae Lane.” Many of the older residents and business owners had stories to share about the area's music history and wanted to pass on these stories to the next generation.
In the 1970s and 80s, Toronto was the epicentre of reggae music, second only to Jamaica. Much of that activity could be found in the vibrant stretch of music stores, labels, studios and venues along Eglinton Avenue West, and the impact could be felt city-wide. Musician/producers legends, such as Leroy Sibbles who called Toronto home for over a decade, were making music that was equal to anything being produced in Kingston, London or New York, according to Reggae Toronto.
On the Reggae Toronto website, you can find a map of the locations of the influential record stores, studios and venues. A quick scan reveals a concentration of reggae music activity along the Eglinton West strip that rivals any in the world. As Reggae Toronto notes, these were more than just places where great music was being created—these places were the social and cultural hubs of the neighbourhoods.
As Eglinton West continues to transform with the coming Eglinton Crosstown and Oakwood Station, it is more important than ever to remember and celebrate this rich history. Toronto needs to do a better job of recognizing its history—especially its music history. Like the Yonge Street strip, Yorkville, and Queen Street, Eglinton West has a music history and story that should be shared.