Canada's most popular neighbourhood for musicians is right here in Toronto

According to a report released this week, the Little Portugal and Trinity-Bellwoods area has been ranked as the number one location in Canada for growth in the number of musicians, songwriters, and other people involved in creating music.

The Little Portugal and Trinity-Bellwoods area is home to the most musicians Canada-wide

Local haunts like the Dakota Tavern make live music a priority. (Courtesy of Dakota Tavern )

Canada has a new hotbed of music production — and it's right here in Toronto.

According to a report released this week by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada(SOCAN), the Little Portugal and Trinity-Bellwoods area has been ranked as the number one location in Canada for the growth in the number of musicians, songwriters,and other people involved in creating music. 

"This diverse and culturally-rich neighbourhood in Toronto's south-western quadrant is a hub of creative musical talent, live music venues, and businesses using music to their advantage," said a SOCAN news release.

Shawn Creamer, a local musician and the owner of the Dakota Tavern in Trinity Bellwoods, told CBC Toronto he isn't surprised by the news.

"The growth is coming from a general collaboration and just a general creative vibe that lives in this neighbourhood," said Creamer, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 13 years.

Creamer, a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with his band The Beauties, has owned the Dakota Tavern for the last several years. It's a rustic establishment nestled in the heart of Trinity-Bellwoods that serves as a live music venue.

Creamer told CBC Toronto that back when the tavern opened it was an instant hit because it could host numerous local bands and musicians daily.

Other venues, like the Garrison and the Painted Lady, are able to host live music on a nightly basis, something w Creamer says wasn't exactly the reality a decade ago.

"The growth I see is that there are enough musicians and enough bands that all of these music venues are able to operate all the time," Creamer said.

'If I take a walk down the street here I'll bump into 3 or 4 musicians'

"If I take a walk down the street here I'll bump into three or four musicians."

However, Creamer isn't sure if the growth will continue. He told CBC Toronto that with rents increasing throughout the neighbourhood, more and more artists are finding it difficult to ply their craft. 

Creamer explained that most artists don't earn much money and it's often cheap rent, cheap food and plenty of music venues that attract musicians to certain neighbourhoods. 

Andrew Berthoff, chief communications and marketing officer at SOCAN, echoed Creamer's belief.

Berthoff says with more people moving to neighbourhoods like Little Portugal and Trinity-Bellwoods for the perceived cool factor, especially those who aren't musicians themselves, prices will inevitably increase in tandem with the land value.

'Great music attracts great musicians'

"Whether the neighbourhood attracts the music creators and publishers or whether the music creators and publishers build the neighbourhood, I can't really be sure," said Berthoff.

"What I can be sure of is that it's a symbiotic relationship. Great music attracts great musicians."

Berthoff thinks there is a certain cool factor with the Little Portugal and Trinity-Bellwoods area that could be contributing to its growth as a music destination. 

The Trinity Bellwoods. Little Portugal area is the number one destination in the country for musicians, composers and other people in the industry, according to the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. (CBC)

Creamer thinks that the neighbourhood has always had its cool factor, but lately it's a different motivation bringing musicians, songwriters, composers and producers to the area.

"It's a place where you can find like-minded people, a creative atmosphere and lots of music venues that support that lifestyle," Creamer said.

'Lifeblood of Canadian music'

Berthoff says the motivation for releasing the data is to highlight a message of how important these local music creators are to the city, and the country.

"They're an important part of the economy. Great music starts with someone writing music," said Berthoff.

"We really want to get out the message that songwriters, composers, music publishers, music creators, are the lifeblood of Canadian music."

This is only the second year SOCAN has released data on music creators and the first year growth has been the focus.

Last year, the most financially successful neighbourhoods were highlighted based on royalties, with Montreal's Mile-End securing the top spot.

The top 10 music growth centres

This year, it's three Toronto neighbourhoods occupying the top five.

  1. Trinity / Little Portugal, Toronto 
  2. Christie, Toronto 
  3. Rosemont, Montréal 
  4. Brockton / Parkdale Village / Exhibition Place, Toronto 
  5. Centre-Sud, Montréal 
  6. North Grandview-Woodland, Vancouver 
  7. Dufferin / Dovercourt Village, Toronto 
  8. Plateau Mont-Royal, Montréal
  9. Outremont, Montréal 
  10. Petite-Patrie Southwest, Montréal

The full SOCAN report can be found here.