dance parties Toronto

The top 10 dance parties in Toronto during 2014

2014 was an unpredictable year in Toronto when it came to finding dependably good dance parties. The outdoor events that made the summer of 2013 so great were often rained out. Reliably consistent venues like Footwork closed down before the year even started, while the Guvernment announced that it too wouldn't be around for much longer.

The Sunnyside Pavilion was closed for renovations all year, and Fort York hosted far fewer dance music events than in previous years. The Electronic Nation partnership between concert promoter giant Live Nation and pioneering rave promoters Destiny also came to an end. But as with all endings, these changes also meant new beginnings, as well as opportunities for party veterans to demonstrate why they've lasted so long.

Here are my picks for the top dance parties in Toronto during 2014.

DJ Harvey / 99 Sudbury / March 22
A very rare Toronto appearance by the legendary UK dance music pioneer demonstrated exactly why DJ Harvey is so revered by other DJs. A magical night of weirdo disco and emotional dance music, and easily the highlight of this year's Foundry series.

Harvest Festival / Midlothian Castle / September 12-14
Technically this wasn't actually in Toronto, but the annual rural underground dance music festival is undisputedly a local institution, and this year's edition once again proved why so many of are willing to brave the long drive and muddy camping.

Art Department / Coda / January 18
As much as Footwork will be missed, Coda's opening night party easily relieved any lingering concerns that the owners' new venue might not measure up. No wonder Art Department's Jonny White also decided to team up with them to invest in the new space.

Mr Scruff / Wrongbar / August 20
It's fine to go to a big festival to hear one hour sets by the flavours of the month, but nothing really beats hearing an experienced DJ like Mr Scruff taking a small club like Wrongbar on an epic musical journey from opening to closing time.

Skrillex / Cherry Beach / June 1
It's hard to say what was more shocking: that EDM superstar Skrillex made a surprise appearance at Promise's long running Sunday afternoon beach party, or that his surprisingly understated tech-house set managed to win over so many skeptical dance music snobs.

Summerdaze / Gossip / May 31
The kickoff party for the outdoor party series Summerdaze felt like a perfect beginning to the season, and headliners Kim Ann Foxman and Maayan Nidam provided the perfect soundtrack to the sun setting.

Carl Craig / 99 Sudbury / April 5
You could argue that it's excessive putting a second event from the Foundry series on this list, but Detroit techno icon Carl Craig's eclectic DJ set was just too good to neglect giving him his own mention.

Promise Heart Party / 158 Sterling / February 14
At the time, no one knew this would be their last chance to party in the cavernous abandoned Tower Automotive Building warehouse, and this Valentine's party made the most of the impressive unique space (full disclosure: my band Chobo played this event).

Nomi Ruiz / The Garrison / June 28
Hotnuts is always a crazy party, but their annual Pride edition is even more intense. Ex-Hercules & Love Affair vocalist Nomi Ruiz played an amazing solo set, clearly feeding off the energy in the room.

Digital Dreams / Ontario Place / June 27-28
It's hard to say what's in the future for Digital Dreams, now that the original organizers have been replaced by INK, but at least the final edition to be hosted by Destiny went out with a bang, pairing the new generation of superstars with old school legends like Danny Tenaglia.

What did I miss? Let me know what dance parties you won't forget from 2014 in the comments.

Photo of Digital Dreams by Jesse Milns


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