Andrew Burke

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Yorkville's Summer of Love with Gucci
Posted on: 2007-06-03

As part of the LuminaTO festival, Yorkville had a Summer of Love festival yesterday. Back in the 60s, it was the heart of the hippie counter-culture, a place of cheap rents, folk music cafes, and drugs.

(Here's a great CBC clip from 1967 here - the 'Bill Gibson' they interview would later become the famous science fiction writer.)

Yorkville now has become our little version of Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue - following the baby boomers from youthful indulgence to older self-satisfied wealthy consumerism. The music was sponsored by a hair-care company. There was a strange mix of bell-bottoms and Armani. Someone was giving out fake flowers to go in women's hair, right beside the thick Gucci sunglasses.

The row of cute Victorian townhouses that held the famous coffee houses that launched Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell have now been torn down to build "Toronto's first five-star hotel" with multi-million dollar condominiums attached.

There is a Starbuck's across the street though.


A better sense of the "Summer of Love" was a few blocks south in Queen's Park, where the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival brought a world of percussion to a laid-back crowd. I had lunch from "One Love Corn Soup" and watched a bunch of Toronto kids perform intricate Sri Lankan percussion while dreadlocked children danced with hackeysack teenagers.

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