Reggae Lane is a roadway in Toronto, Canada, that runs east from Oakwood Avenue, behind a strip of buildings on the south side of Eglinton Avenue in the Little Jamaica ethnic enclave. For most of its history it had no official name, but the imminent arrival of Oakwood LRT station helped trigger its 2015 official naming.
Toronto Transit Commission chair Josh Colle, the councilor for that part of the city, played a prominent role in the lane′s renaming, and in the allocation of funds for cleanup and redevelopment. He asserted that the neighbourhood around the Laneway is the largest centre for the recording of Reggae music, outside of Jamaica.
On September 19, 2015, Colle introduced a 1,200 square feet (110 m2) mural of Bob Marley, Haile Selassie, and the Lion of Judah, by Adrian Hayles. In its coverage of the mural the Jamaica Gleaner described it as an instance of a foreign country showing respect for the genre of reggae music. Jay Douglas, and other reggae artists, performed a concert to celebrate the completion of the mural. Douglas had composed a new song, named Reggae Lane, which he performed at the concert.
On July 21, 2015, the City of Toronto announced that Reggae Lane would be one of the first four local songs that would be played for callers to 311, while they waited for help. The song describes the history and ambience of the neighbourhood, in reggae style.
Ryan Ayukawa (2015-04-18). "Toronto laneway to become reggae hot spot (once again)". Blog TO. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
Ward 15 City Councillor Josh Colle was instrumental in nominating "Reggae Lane" for an official title. Colle, who lived in the area, wanted to help recognize the rich history of Little Jamaica and the music of the '70s and '80s in the area.
Dominik Kurek (2015-03-17). "Reggae Lane selected for improvement project". Inside Toronto. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
The changes are coming with the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, which is scheduled to open in 2020. “With the coming changes to Eglinton with the LRT, potential buildings, condos, this is a space that should not be neglected, especially because it’s literally no more than a footstep away from a main artery of Oakwood and Eglinton,” Alampi said.
Dominik Kurek (2015-06-02). "York community comes together to envision future of Reggae Lane". Inside Toronto. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
He said the community needs Reggae Place, which could run along Eglinton from Marlee Avenue to Dufferin Street, and which would be a viable destination thanks to its proximity to the subway and access from the future underground Eglinton Crosstown LRT system.
Amy Grief (2015-09-21). "Reggae Lane mural unveiled in Toronto". Blog TO. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
To celebrate the new initiative, numerous reggae musicians, including Jay Douglas, performed. Accordingly, Douglas played an original song called Reggae Lane.
Benjamin Boles (2014-10-21). "10 quirky things to know about the Toronto music scene". Blog TO. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
A wave of Jamaican immigrants in the 60s brought reggae music to Toronto, and the musicians who moved here also integrated themselves into the city's rhythm & blues scene, leading to a unique cross-pollination of cultures. Legendary Studio One keyboard player Jackie Mittoo relocated to Toronto in 1969, and fellow Studio One alumni Leroy Sibbles also moved here in 1973. Recently city council recognized this heritage by renaming a laneway south of Eglinton Reggae Lane.
Dan Taekema (2015-09-19). "Side street revitalization honours Toronto's role in reggae". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
The painting is part of a project that seeks to bring the music back to the lane, recently redubbed Reggae Lane to honour the neighbourhood’s history as an “epicentre” for the Caribbean music form in the 1970s and ’80s.
"Canada Recognizes Reggae Music With Huge Mural". Jamaica Gleaner. 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
Another foreign country has once again shown its respect for reggae music. On Saturday, the Eglinton West neighbourhood in Canada got a new 1,200 square foot mural, which not only pays homage to the genre, but serves as a reminder of the country's rich history with reggae music and its culture.
Mawga K (2015-09-15). "Honoring Canada's Reggae Pioneer's via Reggae Lane". Montreal Dance Hall. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
Of the unveiling Mr. Colle said “I am hoping that by recognizing these legendary performers and establishing Reggae Lane, we will bring a positive light to Eglinton Avenue West and highlight the significance of this essential part of Toronto’s music history.”
"Dial 311 for local Toronto hold music". Metro International. 2015-07-21. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
For now, four acts are being featured during the project’s first run. All have been recently involved with the city’s Music Advisory Council.
- "Reggae Lane" (mp3). SoundCloud. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
"Toronto's laneways to take centre stage in 2016". Metro International. 2016-01-04. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
One of those, Reggae Lane, received a facelift earlier this year, complete with a mural commemorating the neighbourhood’s musical history. It’s already being touted as a blueprint for revitalizing local laneways, Senayah said.
"REGGAE LANE - THE LANEWAY PROJECT". York Business Improvement Area. 2015-03-15. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
On August 12th, 2014, the North York Community Council approved Councillor Colle’s motion to rename the laneway located south of Eglinton Ave West and extending easterly from Oakwood Avenue to “Reggae Lane” behind some of the stores that have existed along Eglinton for years.