Looking back: Charlie Watts and the Rolling Stones in Canada

The Rolling Stones have played concerts all around the country, with their first Canadian shows in 1965 setting the stage for a decades-long friendship. In the wake of drummer Charlie Watts's death, CBC News looks back at the band's live performances in Canada.

CBC News looks back on some of the band's live performances across the country

The Rolling Stones in Toronto on April 25, 1965, during one of their first concert stops in Canada. Pictured from left to right are Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts. (Dale Barnes/CBC Still Photo Collection)

As news spread that Charlie Watts, beloved drummer for the Rolling Stones, died on Tuesday, Canadians mourned a tremendous loss, with many fondly reminiscing on their experiences seeing one of the world's most famous bands perform live.

Over the course of their nearly 60-year career, the Rolling Stones played dozens of shows in Canada at sold-out arenas and outdoor festivals. It will come as no surprise to their admirers that some of those concerts were — and still are — the most widely attended in Canadian history, with performances from Regina to Toronto pulling in unprecedented numbers of concertgoers.


A young Watts is pictured at his drum kit as the Rolling Stones playing one of their first Canadian shows on April 25, 1965. The band has a storied relationship to the city, with lead singer Mick Jagger telling the Toronto Star in 2013 that the Stones were "very fond of Toronto."

(Dale Barnes/CBC Still Photo Collection)

On July 19, 1994, Jagger, Keith Richards, right, and Ron Wood rock out during a preview show of their Voodoo Lounge tour at the RPM nightclub.

(The Canadian Press)

Watts smiles at fans as he exits a car outside the Palais Royale for a surprise Rolling Stones concert on Aug. 16, 2002.

(J.P. Moczulski/The Canadian Press)

On July 20, 2003, Watts, Jagger, Wood and Richards are pictured at the Concert for SARS Relief at Downsview Park. With the Rolling Stones headlining, the benefit concert drew nearly 450,000 people, the largest outdoor ticketed event in Canadian history.

(Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press)

Fans hold up a "Toronto Rocks" sign during the Rolling Stones show at the Concert for SARS Relief.

(Mike Cassese/Reuters)

Jagger, with bandmates, from left, Wood, Watts and Richards perform at the Air Canada Centre on May 25, 2013, on their 50 & Counting tour.

(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)


Guitarists Wood and Richards perform for the crowd at Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 2, 1997.

(The Canadian Press)


Jagger is pictured on Oct. 8, 2006, at Mosaic Stadium during the second of two concerts in Regina. A few nights before, the Rolling Stones performed to a crowd of roughly 40,000 fans.

(Troy Fleece/The Canadian Press)

Oro-Medonte, Ont.

On June 29, 2019, the Rolling Stones play at the Canada Rocks Festival during their No Filter tour.

(Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press)


Jagger, in a gleaming blue suit, is pictured with Watts.

(Chris Wattie/Reuters)


Wood, left, Jagger, centre, and Richards perform onstage at the Bell Centre on Jan. 10, 2006.

(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Quebec City

The band performs at the Quebec Summer Festival on July 15, 2015. Jagger entertains the crowd in a sparkling multicoloured jacket, with drummer Watts in the back.

(Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Fans dance during the Rolling Stones' performance at the Quebec Summer Festival.

(Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)


On Sept. 3, 2005, the Rolling Stones play an outdoor concert on Magnetic Hill, with more than 80,000 fans purchasing tickets. Jagger, Watts and Richards are pictured.

(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Moncton locals gather outdoors to watch the Rolling Stones play on Magnetic Hill from their backyards.

(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)


Pictured in Halifax Commons on Sept. 23, 2006, Jagger performs in the rain during the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang world tour.

(Paul Darrow/Reuters)

A rain-soaked crowd is unfazed by the weather during the Rolling Stones' performance in Halifax Commons.

(Paul Darrow/Reuters)

Members of the Rolling Stones are pictured on stage with a video of their performance showing simultaneously on the screen behind them.

(Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)


Jenna Benchetrit is a senior writer for CBC News entertainment and education. She can be reached at jenna.benchetrit@cbc.ca.


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