Arts & culture

Preserving and promoting local culture

We embrace our tradition of music, arts and culture through one-of-a-kind projects and experiences.

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Music in Downtown Yonge

Not only is Downtown Yonge’s Legacy that of Toronto’s music hub, but it’s also one of the largest and most diverse live music destinations in the city today. 

Music Map

Join us for a one of a kind walking tour of the Yonge Street strip and experience what music was like in the neighbourhood during the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. To learn more about what we’re doing to preserve the music on Yonge Street check out our Music Strategy.


We want you to be able to learn about the history of Yonge Street wherever you are. So, we have developed a hard copy music map and accompanying ‘app’ that will allow you to go on a historical walking tour of Downtown Yonge and learn about lost music venues and the artists that performed at them.  Map directions, photographs, biographies, and song and video clips will all be available here and accessible to download before the tour starts.

Music Murals

Stemming from our Yonge Love report and supported by our Music Strategy, our two 22-storey music murals pay homage to Yonge Street’s past music scene. Erected by Toronto mural artist, Adrian Hayles, these music murals are a stunning visual reminder of the long, vibrant history of music in Downtown Yonge, which continues today.


The murals are located at 423 Yonge Street on a Toronto Community Housing building; one faces north and one faces south.  The north facing mural honours musicians and venues from the 50’s and 60’s and feature Ronnie Hawkins, Glenn Gould, Dianne Brooks, Jackie Shane, Muddy Waters, Shirley Matthews, B.B. King, Gordon Lightfoot, Oscar Peterson.  The south facing mural honours musicians and venues from the late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and features The Band, David Clayton Thomas, Lonnie Johnson, Jay Douglas, GODDO, Salome Bey, RUSH, Dizzy Gillespie, Kim Mitchell, Carol Pope, Cathy Young, Jon and Lee from the Checkmates and Mandala.

Culture in the Community

DYBIA is located in one the city’s designated Cultural Corridors, and to honour this designation, top priority is given to cultural projects in the DYBIA.

Neon Museum

DYBIA has taken the initiative to preserve the world of Toronto’s neon signage.  During Toronto’s Neon ‘Hay days’, downtown was a mecca for the bright lights and crackling sound.  Guiding your way between restaurants, music venues and everything in between, neon signs were a sight to be seen.  Preservation of this signage is key to keeping the history of the city alive.


DYBIA has been collaborating for the past 5 years with likeminded partners in developing this open air, free museum. 


Working with Lord Cultural Resources, DYBIA is currently working on a Sign Museum strategy, that will guide the process of developing the museum during the next couple of years.  A committee has now been formed and funding is now being discussed.

Murals

DYBIA is proud to add to the cultural preservation of the neighbourhood through public art; especially murals. 


DYBIA has been pleased to work with talented local mural artists to pay homage to the past cultural of the neighbourhood. The two 22-storey music murals, and the recently completed history of theatre mural in collaboration with the Chelsea, Hotel, Toronto, are one of a kind pieces that really make the DYBIA unique, and cultural hot spots.


Working with member businesses, and Street Art Toronto, DYBIA is honoured to act as the project manager for past, present and future cultural murals.  DYBIA has been lucky to work with businesses that share in the passion of preserving local culture. Toronto Community Housing Corporation and the Chelsea Hotel, Toronto are two prime examples of such.

Yonge Space

Yonge Space is a free gallery, owned by Cresford Developments, and curated and run by the DYBIA, that allows emerging artists and non-profit organizations to showcase their exhibits while also allowing people of all incomes to enjoy arts and culture.


DYBIA has partnered with Cresford Developments to activate vacant street-front space owned by Cresford Developments by turning it into a free to the public gallery space.


DYBIA curates the gallery space monthly with different exhibitions. DYBIA will continue to curate the space until Cresford Developments is given the go-ahead to begin development on the space, turning it into a condo.

Micro Music Museums

Developing micro music museums in member business, is another unique and easily accessible way for DYBIA to pay homage to the strong music heritage of Yonge Street that has since been lost and forgotten. 


DYBIA approached member businesses that operate a business in the exact location of a lost music venue and encourage the business to celebrate the music memories that happened in that location.

DYBIA first approached Shoppers Drug Mart to collaborate on a micro music museum in their new flagship store in Yonge Dundas Square.  With the owner’s strong and eager commitment, the ‘Friar’s Music Museum’ opened in June 2018, to honour Friar’s Tavern that occupied the space during the 1970’s, and hosted such music legends Bob Dylan and The Band. 

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