Five songs that sum up 2017 in Toronto


Is it possible to reflect on 2017 without instinctively releasing a huge breath of air in one, long, nearly epic sigh? If you can peel yourself from social media for a minute and you live in Toronto, it’s a little easier to see the past year with perspective. We’ve seen another round of real estate development and had our share of conflicts, but the city has also come together at demonstrations, taken solace in beautiful local music and become the epicentre of all things cannabis industry. Below, find the Spotify soundtrack to the biggest Toronto trends of 2017.

Landmark development

What elements conspire to produce the true spirit of a place? That’s the question many asked as city councillors announced they’d preserved the historic Silver Dollar’s physical space – just before venue booker Dan Burke left to work elsewhere as a condo development unfolded above. And we said a long, tearful goodbye to Honest Ed’s – the Annex discount department store frequented even less than Sears – and a hearty hello to the Broadview Hotel in the east, formerly known as Jilly’s strip club. And after being closed since 2011, Ontario Place, its new parklands and the Cinesphere reopened this year, reigniting a lot of memories for Torontonians.

Listen: Sign Of The Times by Harry Styles

It’s not weed, it’s cannabis!

They may not all be legal, exactly, but it’s impossible to ignore the number of medical cannabis clinics, dispensaries and even farmers’ markets that have sprung up as the popularity of medicinal treatments increase and anticipation of recreational legalization in July 2018 reaches a fever pitch. Who ever thought Toronto could steal the cannabis spotlight from Vancouver?

Listen: Blem by Drake

Floods of near biblical proportions

Normally, approximately 20,000 people visit the Toronto Islands each summer. But seemingly endless rains and heavy run-off this past May drenched the Toronto Islands so heavily this year, flooding beaches and homes, that the park had to shutter itself to tourists until mid-summer.

Listen: Have You Ever Seen The Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Gentle sounds are the salve to our times

Toronto’s music scene has a lot of different sounds, but it’s hard to ignore the prevalence of gentle, soul soothing R&B, folk and jazz coming out of our city. From The Weather Station, to Joseph Shabason to Bernice to DVSN, and perhaps best evidenced by rising star Daniel Caesar’s five upcoming sold-out shows at Danforth Music Hall, these soft Toronto sounds are the balm to our times.

Listen: Get You by Daniel Caesar

Hashtag activism hits the streets

From rising up against Islamophobia and sexual assault to showing solidarity and support for refugees or honouring Gord Downie’s life at Nathan Phillips Square, the citizens of Toronto organized online but took to the streets to show what values we hold near and dear to our hearts. See you in 2018!

Listen: Courage by The Tragically Hip

Visit to listen to these tracks and more music to help make sense of another incredible year in Toronto.


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