Think you know where Canada’s most musically creative neighbourhood is?

March 21, 2016

No one wants to believe that most of Canada’s music all comes from the same place. After all, there are rich traditions in numerous genres all over the nation: the Prairies are home to a huge chunk of Indigenous artists and have a tendency to skew toward folk or country, the west coast seems to produce pop stars and punk rock, the Atlantic provinces have a very deep traditional… uh, tradition. Up north, spread across the Canadian Territories, katajjaq—Inuit throat singing—thrives. Quebec, of course, is home to brilliant francophone music (and Anglo bands seeking low rent). Toronto is home to the country’s most exciting new hip-hop movement and where bands from all over go to try to be famous. These are, obviously, massive generalizations.

Each region is represented by an incredibly diverse smattering of all different types of genres.

But, there are certain regions where musicians in general—at least musicians registered with SOCAN—seem to accumulate more than in others. According to SOCAN’s data analysis, there is one neighbourhood that blasts all the rest out of the water with the most royalty-earning songwriters and composers per capita: Montreal’s Mile End.

It’s not a huge surprise. At the turn of the millennium, Montreal was the scene to look to for the most critically-acclaimed indie rock in the world. It’s the same place that gave rise to Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Patrick Watson, and Owen Pallett. Claire Boucher—better known as Grimes—got her start there. It’s home, or was home to not only a lot of music, but a lot of very good music.

Still, it’s a bit of a drag for any musicians west of Toronto or east of Montreal. The top ten centres of music creation in Canada all exist in those two cities: six in Montreal and four in Toronto. It’s not exactly encouraging if you’re making music elsewhere with the belief that the internet has gone and broken down all geographical barriers. It would appear there’s still something to be said for being in the right place.

They’ve also listed the top musical creation neighbourhood in each province as well, if you’d like to see where your next move should be.


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About the Author

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer. Born and raised on the Prairies in Winnipeg, he’s slowly made his way farther and farther east, spending a few years covering music in Toronto before running clear out of country and ending up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, he’s made numerous detours, interviewing and photographing countless artists across North America and beyond. He heads up Amplify’s Instrumental series, where he talks with musicians about the relationships they’ve formed with their most important tools.

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