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Old 05-21-2008, 07:29 AM   #1
jj
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: ontario, canada
Posts: 5,272
Default update: Riverboat, Village Corner, Steele's Tavern

The Riverboat plaque is not yet in place and I'm hoping it will be in the Fall - in time for Gordon's November 70th birthday. I've yet to start work on the other plaques. It all takes time.

I'll be providing updates so you'll know when the dedication ceremony will be held.

----- Original Message -----
Subject: Riverboat plaque

I wondered if the commemorative plaque and Lightfoot image where The
Riverboat was located at 134 Yorkville has been completed as per the June
2007 report.

Also, is there a similar plaque where the Village Corner was located on
Avenue Rd?

Any further information would be appreciated.
Thank you.


note: The property at #349 Yonge, previously the site of Steele's Tavern, was included on the City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties in 1974.

Last edited by jj; 05-21-2008 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:50 AM   #2
jj
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Location: ontario, canada
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Default Re: update: Riverboat, Village Corner

BTW, this is the article below that prompted my e-mail. I got a chuckle when I read how the owners/residents "shrieked" (in horror, I take it) at the prospect of ther being a Lightfoot plaque laid plus a memorabilia museum inside the lobby. I suppose it might be an eyesore and affect the resale value of their $2.5 M condos, lol:


GYRA (the Greater Yorkville Residents' Association) has embarked on adding another facet to
the Bloor & Avenue Road "cultural precinct" with a series of commemorative plaques
highlighting the most famous Yorkville '60's clubs and coffeehouses, which launched the careers
of singers and songwriters such as Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Ian & Sylvia and Neil
Young.
Meetings have been held with Heritage Toronto, Nicholas Jennings - author of "Before The Gold
Rush: Flashbacks to the Dawn of the Canadian Sound" in which the Yorkville scene is described
in great detail, and Bernie Fiedler, owner of The Riverboat.
The series would be launched with a plaque for the Riverboat. A 24" X 18" black porcelain
plaque is under consideration, which would likely include a way-finding map showing other
significant sites, a photograph of the 134 Yorkville Avenue building frontage, an interior shot
featuring folk singer, Gordon Lightfoot, plus narrative supplied by Nicholas Jennings.
Similar plaques are contemplated for the Mynah Bird (114 Yorkville Avenue) and the
Penny Farthing (112 Yorkville Avenue) and further down the road (no pun intended) a
"60's Yorkville Music Scene" plaque series.
After the Riverboat, a list was developed, listed in geographical order, moving south down
Avenue Road, and then east along Yorkville Avenue:-

1. The Village Corner, 174 Avenue Road
(described by Nicholas Jennings "one of the first coffeehouses to regularly feature
folk music, it was the launching pad for many Canadian stars including Ian & Sylvia")

2. The Night Owl, 102 Avenue Road
(described by Nicholas Jennings "an early venue for the new electrified rock sounds
of the mid-60's, and featured countless Toronto pop, rock and blues groups")

3. The Avenue Road Club, 53 Avenue Road (now part of Hazelton Lanes)
(described by Nicholas Jennings "started as a folk music hotspot, but later shifted focus
to gritty rhythm and blues")

4. Boris' & The Red Gas Room, 45 Avenue Road
(described by Nicholas Jennings "another bastion of rhythm and blues")
2

5. The Purple Onion, 35 Avenue Road
(described by Nicholas Jennings "the Onion quickly became one of Yorkville's most
successful coffeehouses. Within three years of opening, patrons had purchased
more than 30,000 membership cards. After initially featuring top folk artists including
Carly Simon and Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Onion switched to rock music")

6. El Patio, 119 Yorkville Avenue
(described by Nicholas Jennings "...the distinction of having hired Bernie Finkelstein, who
today manages the international career of folk legend Bruce Cockburn, and running True
North Records, Canada's oldest independent label")

7. The Mynah Bird, 114 Yorkville Avenue
(described by Nicholas Jennings "Perhaps the most notorious of all Yorkville
establishments, a band of the same name featured Neil Young. the owner's talking
bird, Rajah, became a celebrity - even appearing on the Johnny Carson Show. The club
gained notoriety for go-go dancers in glass booths, a nude chef, and later topless go-go
dancers")

8. The Penny Farthing, 112 Yorkville Avenue
(described by Nicholas Jennings "Housed in a grand old Victorian building, the Penny
featured folksingers, blues artists, Dixieland jazz and an outdoor swimming pool. It proved
to be an auspicious spot for the likes of Montreal poet, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell")

9. The Flick, 90 Yorkville Avenue
(described by Nicholas Jennings "A large dance club, the Flick featured such polished
performers which gave rise to such supergroups as Lighthouse and Janis Joplin's Full
Tilt Boogie Band")

10. Chez Monique, 88 Yorkville Avenue
(described by Nicholas Jennings "served as a launching pad for The Sparrows, who flew
south to find international fame as Steppenwolf. John Kay leader of the band describes
the Village in the 1960's as a magical, hugely influential time and place")

The Riverboat, described by Nicholas Jennings 'as the most famous of all Yorkville clubs quickly
became part of a prestigious North American circuit. The club seated 120 people in red booths
amid pine walls and brass portholes. There are many legends associated with the club. Until its
closure in 1978, the Riverboat served as a major cultural landmark."


From coffee house to condo hotel
JAMES ADAMS Globe & Mail
May 19, 2007
Developers may have paved over the hippie paradise that Yorkville used to be, but
starting next year, Heritage Toronto and the Greater Yorkville Residents' Association will
be putting up commemorative plaques around the neighbourhood.
A total of about 10 sites have been identified for possible plaques, including such nowdefunct
hipster locales as the Riverboat, the Penny Farthing and Chez Monique as well
as the Purple Onion and the Mynah Bird Coffee House, where artists as varied as James
Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Steppenwolf, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, the Paupers, Ian & Sylvia
and David Clayton-Thomas did their thang.
3
First up for a plaque is the Riverboat. Or, that is, what used to be the Riverboat, at
134 Yorkville Ave. Opened in 1964, closed almost 14 years later, the Riverboat, with its
red booths, pine walls and brass portholes, was the 'hood's premier club, with room for
as many as 120 patrons. Now, it's the location for the porte-cochère of the Hazelton
Hotel and condominium, set to open this summer. The owners of the Hazelton - where the
cheapest condo reportedly costs $2.5-million - were asked if a plaque could be affixed to
its exterior and a permanent exhibition of Yorkville memorabilia stored inside. However,
"they just shrieked" at the prospect, one insider reports.
In the end, the plaque is being installed; it's expected to be black porcelain, with a map
directing visitors to other sites, plus photographs of the Riverboat's interior and exterior,
including an image of Gordon Lightfoot. But it's going on the sidewalk.
Heritage Toronto recently approved the Riverboat commemorative plaque and GYRA will be
looking to the community for contributions towards the cost of the plaque.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:06 AM   #3
charlene
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Default Re: update: Riverboat, Village Corner

I was just down in Yorkville the other day..with no camera! I could have snapped all kinds of pics of the addresses mentioned above. It has surely changed from those early days..retail is tres pricey as is the real estate..and lawyers..
With the Walk of Fame planning on lifting all the sidewalk stars/plaques perhaps the Yorkville folk should take note about the cracking and wear on them..as well as the fact that for some time of the year they are covered with snow/salt/ice..the brown and gritty sidewalks of Toronto are not conducive to sidewalk stars..
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Old 05-22-2008, 08:30 AM   #4
jj
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: ontario, canada
Posts: 5,272
Default Re: update: Riverboat, Village Corner

sorry I didnt post this prior to tourists coming to town but i thought all had done this landmark/address tracing years back using yuri's TO guide

anyhow, nothing to see really, other than just standing there and using imagination

any recollections to share from Ron or Bru (where's Waldo anyhow? ) or others?

how about pics? I believe I only have Steele's Tavern pics...somewhere...
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:22 PM   #5
charlene
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Default Re: update: Riverboat, Village Corner

This fellow is writing a book..I like his sound: Eileen at his MySpace is lovely..

Stuart Henderson, PhD, is a Toronto-based historian, professor, musician, pacifist, and journalist. He is the singer-songwriter for the independent folk-rock band Ghostwalk Creek. His forthcoming book is Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the Sixties. He is presently at work on a history of censorship and the naked body in Canada.

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ghostwalkcreekmusic
..I like his sound: Eileen at his MySpace is lovely..

The other book should be quite a read..
lol
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