CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Beatlemania takes over Toronto in 1964

The Story

February 1964 was marked by the Beatles' legendary appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.  Now the band is touring the continent for the first time, with a run of 26 dates including Vancouver's Empire Stadium on Aug. 22, Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on Sept. 7, and The Montreal Forum on Sept. 8. On the day of the Toronto show CBC Radio's Countdown captures the mayhem. Hosted by Alan Maitland, the show bills itself as "a bold new briefing on the sights, sounds, glamour, and excitement of today's teenager".  Maitland checks in throughout the show with reporters about all things Beatlemania, including a review of the group's Vancouver show and a report on the Toronto chaos prior to the Maple Leaf Gardens appearance.

Medium: Radio
Program: Countdown
Broadcast Date: Sept. 7, 1964
Host: Alan Maitland
Reporter: Nancy Bacall, Hal Tennant
Duration: 6:56
Photo Credit: CBC Still Photo Collection/Dale Barnes

Did You know?

• Although the Beatles returned to Toronto in August 1965 and again in August 1966, their 1964 appearances in Vancouver and Montreal were their first, last, and only, other Canadian appearances.

• According to Beatles historian Piers Hemmingsen, CBC's Countdown was the first national radio program in North America to play the Beatles. It happened on Nov. 6, 1963 when Alan Maitland introduced She Loves You as his "pick of the week". By mid-December the song was charting across the country. It would be another two months before the band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

• According to Paul White, former executive with Capitol Records Canada, She Loves You was not the first Beatles record released in Canada. It was the fourth. White released Love Me Do in February of 1963 and followed it with Please, Please Me and From Me To You. All three songs were colossal flops that sold fewer than 300 copies each.

• The first three Beatles albums released in Canada were exclusive editions unavailable elsewhere. Collectors now pay $50 or more for excellent copies of Beatlemania With The Beatles (T-6051), Twist And Shout (T-6054), and Long Tall Sally (T-6063), released on the Capitol 6000 series.



More Musicians more