St. Patricks Day Parade, 19 March 2017
Watching floats, bands, banners, flags, leprechauns, bagpipes, drums, dancers, hurlers, soccer players, dragons, shamrocks, leprechauns, crazy hats, green hats, green everything, but most of all, people.
Toronto’s newest street sign
Reggae Lane is a small lane on the south side of Eglinton West, between Marlee and Oakwood.
It is home to a new mural that celebrates the many reggae musicians from Toronto.
below: A Heritage Toronto plaque marks the spot. It tells the story of Jamaican immigration and the reggae music they brought to Canada with them. A transcription of the plaque appears at the bottom of this post.
The mural was painted over the course of three weeks by Adrian Hayles with the help of some young painters.
below: Appearing in the mural: Reggae musicians from Toronto – Pluggy Satchmo, Bernie Pitters, Leroy Sibbles, Lord Tanamo, Jay Douglas, Stranger Cole, Johnny Osbourne, Jojo Bennett, Nana McLean, Jackie Mittoo, Leroy Brown, Otis Gayle, Joe Isaacs, and Carol Brown. Bob Marley is also in the mural as are the Skatalites, one of the groups that started it all; they began recording ska music in the mid 1960s.
below: “Reggae, The King’s Music” is a reference to Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia (1930-1974) who was born Tafari Makonnen. Before becoming emperor, he was known as Ras Tafari where Ras means Duke or Prince (depending on the translation). Hence the name Rastafari. The Rastafari movement began in Jamaica after the coronation of Haile Selassie. To them, Selassie was not just a black king, he was the messiah.
Although it didn’t become a musical genre until the 1960s, reggae also has it’s roots in Jamaica. Reggae and Rasta have become closely linked. Reggae has spread the Rasta message and Rastafari musicians like Bob Marley have popularized reggae music.
below: The radio station CFRB once had a Sunday evening reggae program.
below: The Lion of Juda is a Rastafarian symbol. It comes from the fact that as Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Sealssie’s full title was “King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah”. The lion also appears in the middle of the Ethiopian flag.
plaque: “Toronto’s Reggae Roots
In the 1970s and 1980s, an estimated 100,000 Jamaicans immigrated to Canada. Many settled in Toronto on Eglinton Avenue West, between Oakwood Avenue and Allen Road, in “Little Jamaica”, which became the centre of one of the largest Jamaican expatriate communities in the world.
Among these immigrants were popular reggae artists who brought their music to Toronto. Reggae record stores and recording studios began opening up in this neighbourhood. Leroy Sibbles (the influential bass guitar player and lead vocalist of The Heptones), Jackie Mittoo, The Cougars, Ernie Smith, Johnny Osborne, and Stranger Cole all performed and recorded in Toronto during this period. Despite the rich talent in and around Little Jamaica, early Canadian reggae struggled to find mass appeal. However, later generations of Toronto reggae artists achieved mainstream success, including Juno Award winners Lillian Allen, Messenjah, and the Sattalites.”
The project was funded by the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program, with support from Metrolinx, Councillor Josh Colle’s office, the Macaulay Centre for Child and Youth Development, the Toronto Parking Authority and the York-Eglinton BIA. It was also supported by the STEPS Initiative.
Toronto International Buskerfest for Epilepsy, 2015,
over 70 acts from Canada and around the world.
Yonge Street, College to Queen,
28th Aug through 31st Aug
below: The Funnykito Show, Dan Marques is a performer from Brazil, part magician, part mime and part clown. Here he sets up a trick whereby he tries to remove a beer bottle from the hands of a volunteer with a whip.
below: MaracaTALL, drummers on stilts
below: There were four or five members of the Mirror Family roaming around Yonge Dundas Square. They were covered from head to toe with small pieces of mirror.
below: Meow Mur, a cosmic cat from another planet
below: Max T. Oz
below: Brant the Fireguy has a burning desire to entertain and does so with his ‘O Yeah’ show.
below: Pierre St. Pierre
below: Buskerfest helps to support Epilepsy Toronto; it is their largest fund raiser.
below: Lulu’s World, where a black marker and some tissue paper helps to bring a story to life.
below: Upside down on the rope, Natural Wings
below: Wacky Chad, pogo sticks, dance moves, little bikes, and more
below: Alakazam, throwing knives and other sharp objects as his show’s finale
below: Pyromancer, fire breather, entertains the crowd.
below: Taking turns conducting a small string orchestra
below: Giant Sauruses wander Yonge Dundas Square looking for food. They are part of Close Act Theatre Group from the Netherlands.
below: The Yo-Yo Guy, John Higby, performs.
below: Part of his act involves removing a coin from behind the ear of a volunteer with a spinning yo-yo.