Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s – Stuart Henderson


“Stuart Henderson’s Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s is an adventure back in time to Yorkville at what many would consider the pinnacle of its cultural history. Fifty years ago, the Yorkville Coffee Mill opened, among the first of many to become a hub for youth exploring counterculture through music and mysticism. Henderson’s book, which stemmed from his doctoral dissertation at Queen’s University, is rich with oral histories and underground press coverage of the day. Personal experience drew me to Henderson’s work. I grew up in London (Ontario) in the 1990s. My father worked in Toronto for a time and stayed in an apartment on Bay Street near Bloor. Visiting on weekends, my mother and I would wander the ‘Mink Mile’. By then, Yorkville was a hub of elite consumerism, with couture boutiques and flagship stories. It was cultured, rather than counterculture. Making the Scene tells the stories of the Toronto neighbourhood of Yorkville and the hip culture that pervaded the district in the 1960s. Henderson argues that, for roughly a decade, Yorkville served as the site in Canada for youth seeking an alternative to the dominant Canadian culture.  He asserts that being part of a counterculture – defined as a subculture with values and practices that deviate from mainstream culture – involves the performance of identity. ‘A hippie,’ he notes in the introduction, ‘does not, never can, exist wholly outside his or her cultural process’. In short, counterculture is a negotiation of identity, with cultural hegemony in play. The book is organized chronologically in sections. Within each section is two chapters, one providing a political and cultural history of the period and the other assessing how the cultural identities in Yorkville were performed at the time. The book’s chronological organization makes Henderson’s argument easy to follow. …”
“Your revolution is over”: A Review of Stuart Henderson’s Making the Scene
The Tragically Hip Hippies of Yorkville, Toronto, in ‘Making the Scene’
[PDF] Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s
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Mapping Our Music: The 1960s The venues, schools, record labels, stores, and other landmarks that have created the sound of our city and shaped its music history. The 1960s was the decade in which Toronto’s music scene took shape. With twin focal points in Yorkville and along the Yonge Street strip, the city produced highly regarded folk, rock, and R&B-influenced sounds. Though many of the venues from the decade are long gone, acts that developed their reputations in them, such as the Band and Gordon Lightfoot, became known around the globe. …”

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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