Category: Events

Walking Through Toronto's Reggae History

Our Jane’s Walk. Reggae History. Eglinton West.

During our Jane’s Walk last weekend on Toronto’s Reggae History, it was Reggae talent Jay Douglas who gave us the background story behind the musicians in the mural.  According to Josh Colle, who led the naming of Reggae Lane in our neighborhood, the mural at the Green P Parking closest to Marlee Ave. is the largest mural honoring Reggae History in North America.

As part of his presentation,  Jay Douglas told us about some of the connections between himself and the Toronto Reggae artists in the mural. One friendship that continues today is with reggae legend Bernie Pitters.

Bernie Pitters

Pitters spent the ’80s and ’90s touring with Toots and the Maytals after learning the ropes from Bob Marley’s keyboard player in Jamaica. Pitters is still known to make an appearance on stage or at a keyboard,  despite losing most of his vision through time.

We also learned a little about Toronto’s role in in Reggae Music internationally.  Our recording studios and artists are among the best!

It is said that Toronto holds the ground for dub music and that we maintain the rhythms for rock steady.

According to Mr. Douglas, when Jamaicans back home became enraptured with the new and current music coming out of America, the hard core dub fanatics maintained their original sound in Toronto.

As many growing up on Toronto between the 70s and 90s can attest, Reggae can feel as much a part of local culture as the TTC.

The following paragraphs are a collection of on-line media sources that give some insight to the story we heard last week.

Leroy Sibbles

Leroy Sibbles has received much acclaim as an all-round talent in reggae.  Primarily a bass player, he is a composed and arranged music with a long long list of artists.

The following excerpt from Wikipedia references his Canadian connections making it very clear why he is honoured in this mural. (Please click through for all references.)

After Studio One, Sibbles and the Heptones recorded for other producers including Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry,Harry J,JoJo Hoo Kim, Niney The Observer, Clive Chin, Gussie Clarke, Lloyd Campbell, Prince Buster, Ossie Hibbert, Phil Pratt, Harry Mudie, Geoffrey Chung, Danny Holloway, Rupie Edwards, and Joe Gibbs.  Sibbles also worked with Lloyd “Bullwackie” Barnes,Lloyd Parks, Sly & Robbie, Augustus Pablo, Bruce Cockburn, and Lee Perry, but primarily produced himself.

Sibbles moved to Canada in 1973, where he married and remained for twenty years, and won a U-Know Award for best male vocalist in 1983, and a Juno Award for best reggae album in 1987.He left the Heptones in 1976, midway through a US tour. Also in Canada, he recorded an album for A&M and licensed several albums to Pete Weston’s Micron label, including Now and Strictly Roots. In 1991 he collaborated on the one-off single “Can’t Repress the Cause”, a plea for greater inclusion of hip hop music in the Canadian music scene, with Dance Appeal, a supergroup of Toronto-area musicians that included Devon, Maestro Fresh Wes, Dream Warriors, B-Kool, Michie Mee, Lillian Allen, Eria Fachin, HDV, Dionne, Thando Hyman, Carla Marshall, Messenjah, Jillian Mendez, Lorraine Scott, Lorraine Segato, Self Defense, Zama and Thyron Lee White.

Sibbles is featured in the 2009 documentary Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae. He continued to perform and record into 2010.

Jackie Mittoo

According to the  Canadian Enclyclopedia, Said to have been a piano prodigy, Mittoo began his career in his mid-teens in Kingston, Jamaica. He worked in turn with the Rivals, Sheiks, and Skatalites and was a major figure (keyboard player, composer, arranger, producer) at Coxsone Dodd’s Jamaican Record Manufacturing Co (familiarly, Studio One), where he led, or was a member of, a succession of studio groups.

In 1969 he moved moved to Toronto, but continued to work in Jamaica and toured, and/or recorded, as a member of the Skatalites and with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Sugar Minott, Johnny Osbourne, Willie Williams, and others. He was music director in 1980 for a short-lived Broadway production, Reggae, and further supported reggae’s growing acceptance in mainstream pop through the guidance he offered non-Jamaican bands like England’s UB40, with which he recorded (Labour of Love, Virgin DEPCD-5) and toured in 1983.  In 1985 he was initiated into the Black Music Association of Canada.

Nana Mclean

Our very own Tre Jah Isle was founded by Nana Mclean (under the name Treasure Isle Records).  As the only women to be represented in the mural she must receive a notable mention.

Mclean made her debut recording sessions at Studio One in 1977. She is most known for singing sweet melodies and is rumored to be putting on a number of performances in 2017.

Jay Douglas

According to Ontario Idependant Music Archive, Jay Douglas first appeared on stage in Montego Bay, Jamaica when he was a youth.  In over 45 years of entertainment, Jay has developed a wide-ranging repertoire of American Blues, West Indian Rhythms, Jazz Standards combined with fancy footwork and incredible on-stage charisma.

In the early ’60s, Jay fronted the R&B group “The Cougars” who with their skill and verve lit up the city of Montreal as well as Toronto’s Yonge Street nightclubs in the late ’70s with Soul Funk and Reggae.

Over the past 10 years, Jay has performed around the world, and at annual Toronto events such as the Beaches Jazz Festival, Jerk Fest, Canadian National Exhibition, Yonge and Dundas Square, and a Taste of Lawrence.

In 2012 Jay was nominated for “Reggae Recording of the Year” at the JUNO Awards and was the recipient of the “G98.7 FM Entertainment Award” at the Harry Jarome awards that same year.

By the way, when you’re looking at the mural, Jay Douglas is the one in the green suit.

Thank-you for spending the afternoon with us Mr. Douglas!

Here is a link to the Jay Douglas reggae rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.


Thanks to all business that participated in our 2017 Jane’s Walk:

Wisdom’s Barber

Tre Jah Isle

Kaydee’s Clothing

And yes, those Randy’s patties were tasty enough that people lined up for some more!


Celebrate Winter 2016

Did You See Us?

Music, happiness, dance and most of all friendly neighbours made the scene this past Saturday during our “Celebrate Winter 2016” event.

The York-Eglinton BIA brought some holiday spirit to our community through its “Celebrate Winter 2916” event. The afternoon consisted of 3 musical stations along Eglinton Avenue West between Marlee Avenue and Dufferin Street.

The first station was outside of Toronto Latino. A local hub for latin products, food and services. Here you had non-stop Christmas Carols in various languages for everyone’s enjoyment!

Walking down a little bit east was our second station. Just outside of Maria A. Shchuka Public Library. The Fairbank Village Artist Circle Choir directed by Isabel, a local community face painter. Isabel led a community choir of  Christmas carols and encouraging people to sing along. Many people captured by the atmosphere decided to join and enjoy the snowy afternoon,  including members of Toronto Police 13 Division.

A Latin guitarist joined the choir along with our own business members from Azure & Company Inc. A multitasking company that offers a variety of services ( The ladies from Azure delighted us with a repertoire of Filipino Christmas Carols.



Further east, you would20161217_142826 have found Snooky Tynes and his band. The band was located just outside of City Super Deals, our neighbourhood dollar store. They delighted us with fun music that made us move our bodies and warm up in the cold afternoon.
During the “Celebrate Winter 2016” event there were table games to enjoy. Free vouchers for local restaurants were handed out together with informative flyers. With the voucher, you could get a free “hot beverage/soup” at participating locations. We are happy to say that 100 vouchers were given to people passing by.




Finally, at the end of the day, we received an amazing surprise in our office. Kente Klaus came to wish us and some of our businesses Happy Holidays!



Thank you to all our supporters and drivers that accompanied our ‘Celebrate Winter 2016″ and special thanks to all businesses involved in the different Activities:


Yarnsomaniacs Cafe 1568 Eglinton Ave W
Ming City Restaurant 1662 Eglinton Ave W
Budapest Restaurant 1708 Eglinton Ave W
RL Carenderia 1481 Eglinton Ave W
McDonalds Restaurant 1807 Eglinton Ave W
The Entertainment Kitchen 1561 Eglinton Ave W
Mainsha 1559 Eglinton Ave W
Maria A. Shchuka Library  1745 Eglinton Ave W
City Super Deals  1634 Eglinton Ave W

Check out our videos!


For more videos check out our Youtube Channel 

Reggae Lane Mural Unveiling!


Come see the new York-Eglinton BIA Mural in Reggae Lane. Replacing an older mural visible from Oakwood, the new mural tells the story of a culturally rich and vibrant community, and is part of the laneway revitalization initiative spearheaded by the Laneway Project with support from Josh Colle’s office.

The Reggae Lane mural is one step in transforming Reggae Lane into an inviting and secure place for our community.  Please join us on July 16, 2016 2pm-6pm for the Mural Unveiling and an afternoon of activities, food and music as part of the Laneway Crawl Series hosted by the Laneway Project.

The event will feature activities such as drumming workshops, dub poetry, and will induct local musical icon Nana McLean into the Reggae Hall of Fame. The afternoon will include live performances from local reggae legends such as Carl Henry, Otis Gayle and Jay Douglas who will perform his original song “Reggae Lane”.

A big thank you to City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program, which has generously funded this mural.

ReggaeLane Crawl



What: Reggae Lane Crawl and the unveiling of the second mural

When: Saturday July 16 th ( 2:00pm – 6:00 pm)

Where: Reggae Lane from Oakwood Ave to the Green P lot at 1529 Eglinton West





RL paint poster



Things to do:

2 pm: Pop up art project, drumming workshops

3 pm: Mural unveiling, dub poetry and light snacks

4-6 pm: Live music by Otis Gayle, Carl Henry, Carole Reid, Everton Pablo Paul, Bernie Pitters, Jay Douglas, and honour Reggae Hall of Fame recipient Nana McLean