The Cameron House

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The Cameron House
Location 408 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5V 2A7
Coordinates 43°38′55″N 79°23′51″W / 43.64861°N 79.39750°W / 43.64861; -79.39750Coordinates: 43°38′55″N 79°23′51″W / 43.64861°N 79.39750°W / 43.64861; -79.39750
Type Bar, Music venue
Genre(s) Alternative
Built 1880
Opened October 1981

The Cameron House is a small bar, live music venue, and informal cultural centre located on Queen Street West, just west of Spadina Avenue, in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Cameron has a front lounge and a back room, both with the capacity for audiences of no more than sixty people. It has been described as a Toronto crossover of CBGB's and the Chelsea Hotel in New York.[1]


The building that today houses the Cameron House was constructed in 1880. In that year, it was # 396 Queen Street, and the other half of the building, #398, was under construction. The land to the immediate west of the buildings was a vacant field. In 1881, Angus Cameron moved into #398 and opened a dry goods store on the premises. The other half of the building remained unoccupied. Cameron lived above the shop, his mother living nearby in one of the houses on the street that now bears her family name. By the year 1888, the shop became the “Ryan and Sullivan Tailor Shop.” In 1890, the store was vacant, but the following year, E. Hodd moved in and opened a furnishings shop. In 1895, the structure became the “John Burns Hotel.” In 1896, it became the "Cameron House. First opened as a working hotel in the early 1920s, since October 1981 the Cameron has been a community-based space for music, performance, and visual art.[2] Launched by Paul Sannella, his sister Anne Marie Ferraro and their best friend, Herb Tookey.

[3][4][5][6] Blue Rodeo, Jane Siberry, Ron Sexsmith, Molly Johnson,[7] Gordie Johnson,[4] Holly Cole, Barenaked Ladies, The Meligrove Band, Lorraine Segato, Willie P. Bennett, The Government, Fifth Column, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Handsome Ned, The Golden Dogs and many other well-known Canadian musicians all performed here early in their careers.


House acts at the Cameron in 2005 included The Cameron Family Singers,[8] The DoneFors, The Countrypolitans, Run With the Kittens,[4] The Backstabbers, and Kevin Quain and the Mad Bastards. Recent acts include The Devin Cuddy Band, The Double Cuts, 'Tequila' Jay Swinnerton, Colonel Tom and The American Pour, The Rattlesnake Choir, Big Tobacco and The Pickers, Ferraro, The Sinners Choir, Lori Yates and Hey Stella, Doug Paisley, Freeman Dre and The Kitchen Party, and David Baxter.[9]

In 2011, the Cameron House served as a launching pad for Cameron House Records, a new record label.[10]


  1. ^ Davey, Steven (November 9, 2006). "Cameron celebrates 25: Queen West landmark continues to thrive with T.O. talent a quarter-century on", Now 26 (10). Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Taylor, Doug. "History of the building that houses the Cameron House on Queen St. W." Taylor On History. Doug Taylor. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
  3. ^ Hume, Christopher (June 26, 1987). "Artists in residence: At Cameron, home is where the art is", Toronto Star, p. E10.
  4. ^ a b c DeMara, Bruce (October 8, 2006). "Cameron Housed: Queen West's scruffy hostelry/hangout has catered to artists for 25 years, and its tiny stage, creative energy and draft beer made for something unique in Toronto", Toronto Star, p. C4.
  5. ^ Wingrove, Josh (November 21, 2009). "Cameron House bar for sale for $2.9-million", The Globe and Mail, p. A20.
  6. ^ Helm, Judy; McNamara, Michael. "The story of the Cameron House". Cameron Public House. p. 1. Archived from the original (JPG) on September 28, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
  7. ^ (January 20, 2007). "Cameron House launched career", Toronto Star, p. M6.
  8. ^ MacKinnon, Donna Jean (April 7, 2005). "Cameron House rules: Queen St. W. institution is a one-of-a-kind haven for local musicians and artists while also drawing a diverse urban audience", Toronto Star, p. G1.
  9. ^ Ferraro, Cosmo. "Cameron House Listings". The Cameron. Cosmo Ferraro. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  10. ^ Kinos-Goodin, Jesse (January 22, 2011). "Cameron House diversifies: New record label", National Post, p. TO3.

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