thymeless toronto

One of Toronto's last reggae bars is closing

Note: It was originally reported that this bar will be closing to make room for condos. It has now been confirmed that a new location of Planet Traveler will take over the Thymeless space. 

One of Toronto's last venues for reggae and heavy drum 'n' bass sets is calling it quits after nearly 20 years. 

Thymeless, the longtime dive bar on the edge of Kensington Market, has announced it will be closing at the end of the month.

"The time has come... This will be our last month at our beloved 355 College reggae spot. Our lease is up after almost two decades," said a post to the bar's Facebook page Saturday. 

"A special thank you to all the amazing DJs, artists and talent that blessed us with great music and even better vibes throughout all these years. " 

With its unassuming store sign, dark interior, and one of the best sound systems in the city for bone crushing bass, Thymeless' impending closure marks the end of an era for reggae in the downtown core.

Owners Hansel Lewis and Barbara Swan first transformed 355 College St. into Thymeless more than 16 years ago, but the building itself already held significance in Toronto's Black community long before that.

As the home of Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Hall between 1925 and 1982, the old tiles of the UNIA still stand in Thymeless today.

But the modest space offically became a hallmark venue of reggae in Toronto when selectors Friendlyness and Jeremiah first migrated SuperheavyReggae—now SuperpowerReggae—to the building, bringing reggae sax and dancehall sounds to that overlooked corner of College Street.

With Thymeless' closure, recurring events like Ting Called Fridays, The Gathering, and 360 Degree will have to find another home, if they can. 

While the weekly Run DnB event is slated to move elsewhere, it will be hard to find another spot where local DJs and lovers of jungle beats, dub, Ernest Ranglin, D Brown and Peter Tosh will gather in as grimy, as sweaty, or as inclusive a venue. 

"This venue was taken for granted by many," said DJ Marcus Visionary, a lauded forefather of Toronto's Jungle DnB scene and longtime Thymeless act in an Instagram post. 

"If you never experienced the sound for some lame ridiculous fragile reason we welcome you over the next three weeks."

Thymeless will be holding three closing Run DnB parties for the next three Thursdays until it closes officially on March 30. 

Lead photo by

@roadsidetoronto


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