Horseshoe Tavern

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Horseshoe Tavern
The Horseshoe or The 'Shoe
Horseshoe Tavern.JPG
The Horseshoe Tavern
Former namesCountry Roots n' Rockabilly Music Tavern
LocationToronto, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates43°38′57″N 79°23′45″W / 43.649081°N 79.395889°W / 43.649081; -79.395889Coordinates: 43°38′57″N 79°23′45″W / 43.649081°N 79.395889°W / 43.649081; -79.395889
OwnerCollective Concerts (Jeff Cohen)

The Horseshoe Tavern (known as The Horseshoe, The 'Shoe, The 'Toronto Tavern' and The 'Triple T' to Toronto locals) is a concert venue at 370 Queen Street West (northeast corner of Queen at Spadina) in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and has been in operation since 1947. Owned by "JC", Ken Sprackman, Craig Laskey and Naomi Montpetit, the venue is a significant part of Canadian musical lore. It is captured in the memories of thousands of concertgoers, and in books such as Have Not Been the Same.[1]


The building, erected in 1861, previously housed a blacksmith.[2] Originally known as a Country Roots n' Rockabilly Music Tavern, it was an 87-seat saloon. The Horseshoe Tavern welcomed blues and folk in the 1960s, reggae, mod rock, and punk in the 1970s, new wave and alternative rock in the 1980s, and everything from ska, surf, swing, Celtic and alternative country in the 1990s. Influential acts that have played concerts include the Rolling Stones, the Police, Etta James, the Ramones, The Tragically Hip, Talking Heads and The Jeff Healey Band. Actor Dan Aykroyd was once part-owner.[2]

The Horseshoe has made an effort to support new Canadian artists through programs like Tuesday's Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite. Bookman was a Toronto radio DJ for Indie 88.[3] As a result, it has been a springboard for such notable acts as Bryan Adams, Blue Rodeo, the Tragically Hip, The Pukka Orchestra, the Watchmen, Big Sugar, Wide Mouth Mason, Great Big Sea, Stompin' Tom Connors, the Band, Helix, Prairie Oyster, and Our Lady Peace.

The Horseshoe Tavern celebrated its "60th anniversary" in 2007 with 6 shows in a row by Joel Plaskett. Plaskett played his entire catalogue during the six days (with each night devoted to one full album). Special guest appearances during the celebrations included: Peter Elkas, Sarah Harmer and Gord Downie.

Due to the drastic differences in the amount of daylight Toronto gets from Summer to Winter the Toronto Tavern decided to install light enhancing windows, which makes it appear as daytime in the bar even when it is pitch black outside.[original research?]

Media appearances[edit]

Talking Heads performing at The Horseshoe in 1978

Stompin' Tom Connors concert films This Is Stompin' Tom (1972) and Across This Land with Stompin' Tom (1973) were shot at the tavern. In 1978, it was the setting for the Colin Brunton's punk rock documentary The Last Pogo, featuring bands The Scenics, The Cardboard Brains, The Secrets, The Mods, The Ugly, The Viletones, and Teenage Head. An archival photo montage of the Horseshoe Tavern's history was be featured in Colin Brunton's 2013 feature film The Last Pogo Jumps Again.

The Horseshoe was featured on Live on MTV in September 1997, when The Rolling Stones began their Bridges To Babylon Tour with a thundering 75 minute show.

In 1998, the club was acknowledged in the Tragically Hip song "Bobcaygeon".

In 2000 it was the home to the Humble & Fred "Gift of Christmas" broadcast.

In 2006, a recording of Billy Talent's song "Red Flag" live from the performance at the Horseshoe Tavern was released on the "Red Flag" CD single.

In 2020, referenced in the Kathleen Edwards song "Glenfern"


  1. ^ Michael Barclay; Ian Andrew Dylan Jack; Jason Schneider (2001). Have Not Been the Same. Toronto: ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-475-1.
  2. ^ a b Cross, Alan (March 2007). "History of the Horseshoe Tavern". The Ongoing History of New Music Podcast from FM 96 (London). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "Bookie".

External links[edit]