Music

The true story of Canada's reggae capital

In the '60s and '70s, Toronto's Little Jamaica was one of the highest producers of reggae music in the world outside of Kingston, Jamaica.

Toronto's Little Jamaica was one of the largest producers of reggae music in the world

The true story of Canada's reggae capital

9 days ago
7:46
Little Jamaica, as the neighbourhood is known, was the second largest producer of reggae music in the world, next only to Kingston, Jamaica. 7:46

There's a neighbourhood in Toronto that stretches along Eglinton Ave, just north of the downtown core. For years, it's been buried under construction as the city builds the Crosstown LRT, but behind all that is a rich musical history that's now endangered.

Little Jamaica, as the neighbourhood is known, became one of the largest producers of reggae music in the world outside of Kingston, Jamaica. In the 1960s and '70s, Jamaicans moving to Toronto helped to create a vibrant music industry, complete with clubs, record shops, recording studios, all with a connection to Jamaica. Artists like Jackie Mittoo and Leroy Sibbles recorded their music there, and the famous reggae group Black Uhuru immortalized the strip with their song "Youth of Eglinton." 

To learn more about Little Jamaica and the true story of Canada's reggae capital, hit play on the video above.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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