The Rex Jazz & Blues Bar



  • Décontractée,

Langues parlées

  • Anglais,
194 Queen St W, Toronto ON M5V 1Z1
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  • 11 $ à 25 $,

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It’s hard to imagine The Rex as something other than one of Toronto’s best-known jazz clubs, but its reputation today came as a bit of an accident. It started in 1950, when Avi Ross’ grandfather Jack bought a building housing pool tables, shuffleboards, dart boards and two of the first nine inch televisions, which often attracted fans of Hockey Night in Canada. Jack converted the ground floor into a bar and called it The Rex, a hotel and bar. Its portion of Queen West was a blue-collar neighbourhood, and while it sometimes got a little rough around the edges, it quickly became a beloved haunt. But unlike The Rex of today, which is practically synonymous with jazz and blues, the bar had no stage and no live music.

Luckily for the jazz lovers of Toronto, Avi’s dad, Bob, who started working at The Rex in 1965, had an idea in the 1980s. He decided to hire an act, just for fun, for one night only. DT Thompson played a makeshift stage, and the crowd loved it.

“At the end of the show my dad asked DT, ‘What do you want to get paid?’ DT said, ‘I’ll have a bottle of beer,’” recounts Avi. “And that’s how it started. From that single night, it developed into something big.”

“Something big” means more than 80 live shows a month for more than 30 years. Jazz and blues fans from across the city converge on The Rex to relax with a pint, a glass of wine and maybe some chicken wings or a homemade burger. “Toronto is incredibly rich in world-class jazz talent,” says Bob, “and we are so proud that these brilliant musicians feel at home on our stage.”

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