Toronto name bands

The top 10 bands named after Toronto

Bands get their names through a combination of crafty word association, meaningful moments, and serendipity. Toronto bands are no different, and we often take our own unique streets, sites, landmarks, and neighbourhoods as name inspirations. From Yorkville to the Junction to the TTC, there remain no shortage of possibilities for municipal band names.

Here are my picks for the top bands named after Toronto neighbourhoods and landmarks.

Toronto
The name Toronto was actually a pre-showtime name change from Sass. Holly Woods, Brian Allen, Scott the Mott Kreyer, Nick Costello, and Jimmy Fox were Sass until a Toronto bar manager re-named them in the late 70's. Juno nominations followed along with hits "Your Daddy Don't Know", and Girls' Night Out". They went on to change their name to Holly Woods and Toronto.

The Beaches
Since we caught up with The Beaches in 2013 they've gone on to international success. Hailing from the east end (once Rosedale HS), and aptly named, sisters Jordan Miller and Kylie Miller with friends Eliza Enman McDaniel and Leandra Earl have toured extensively and featured at SXSW.

The Birds of Bellwoods
Four-piece band Birds of Bellwoods made headlines in 2014. After our February interview, they were kicked off NXNE for violating the 45-day radius clause for playing a charity event 38-days before the festival. Taking their name from Trinity Bellwoods Park, they'll be bringing their folk sound to CMW 2015.

The Leslie Spit Treeo
In 1989, the trio of Laura Hubert, Pat Langner, and Jack Nicholsen went from busking to being featured in Bruce McDonald's Road Kill. Their name came from the Leslie Spit in the Port Lands area. There are some mentions the Treeo is a reference to "trees" and their dog manager-mascot Tag, and not a three person collective.

Kensington Market
Alex Darou and Keith McKie of Sault Ste. Marie, previously of the Vendettas joined Eugene Martynec (Bobby Kris & the Imperials) to form Kensington Market in 1967. With guidance from Bernie Finkelstein, lineup additions, and shows in Yorkville, they went on to release Avenue Road and an NFB soundtrack for Ernie Game. An album reissue in 2008 saw a reunion at Hugh's Room.

The Mynah Birds
Fact: Rick "Superfreak" James and Neil Young were in a r&b band. Bobbi Lee and the Scepters were the house band at Yorkville coffee house The Mynah Bird in the 60's (known for Rajah the bird). Re-named after the venue, Rick Matthews (James) was added, and Neil on 12-string acoustic. The recordings for a Motown contract in '66 were reportedly lost/mislabeled. Other members were Bruce Palmer (Buffalo Springfield with Neil), Goldie McJohn, and Nick St. Nicholas (Steppenwolf).

The James Clark Institute
James Clark gives a wink and a nod to "The Clarke Institute of Psychiatry" (now CAMH). The original Clarke hospital on College St. is part of a the CAMH four hospital amalgam and documented in the Coach House book: The Clarke and Its Founder. Indie pop-rock JCI have regular showcases throughout the city.

Mimico
Listed as "Canadian post-punk to watch" by AuxTV, Mimico take their band name from the southwest neighbourhood of Toronto. Psychedelia fans will enjoy their live shows as well as their 7-inch recording with Fresh Snow. Incantation, their full LP is set for January 2015 release. Catch them at Class of 2014.

Bathurst Station
On the Toronto indie scene for just over a year, Bathurst Station have played two Indie Fest showcases, and the Reel Film Fest, along with regular shows at the Bovine Sex Club. Their video cover of "You're The One I Want" (Grease) on Youtube is near 120,000 views. Bathurst Station is a full band playing rock duets.

Deuce Springsteen and the Queen St. Band
One of city's favourite cover bands was on hiatus for part of 2013-2014. Deuce Springsteen and the Queen St. Band are named after both the Boss' E Street Band (E street in Belmar, NJ) and Toronto's own Queen St. The band features TWO Bruces: Joel "Badlands" Battle and Dave "Born To Run" Borins.

Honourable mentions

What did I miss? Add your suggestions for bands named after Toronto neighbourhoods and landmarks in the comments.


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