In 2004, Shawn Creamer moved to Toronto from London, Ontario to play music. “I wasn’t able to make a living at it, so I had to get my first real job,” recalls the owner of The Dakota Tavern. “I got a gig at the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency and it ate my soul.” Every morning, Shawn took public transit to this dead-end job he loathed, catching the bus in front of a dive bar called the Trin Port. One day, while waiting for the TTC, a For Rent sign on the building caught his eye.
“It was just like out of a movie,” Shawn says. “I ripped down the sign, went home, called and quit my job, and rented the building. Then I sold my house in London and rolled the dice.”