Making the scene : Yorkville and Hip Toronto, 1960-1970
Henderson, Stuart Robert
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For a short period during the 1960s Toronto’s Yorkville district was found at the centre of Canada’s youthful bohemian scene. Students, artists, hippies, greasers, bikers, and “weekenders” congregated in and around the district, enjoying the live music and theatre in its many coffee houses, its low-rent housing in overcrowded Victorian walk-ups, and its perceived saturation with anti-establishmentarian energy. For a period of roughly ten years, Yorkville served as a crossroads for Torontonian (and even English Canadian) youth, as a venue for experimentation with alternative lifestyles and beliefs, and an apparent refuge from the dominant culture and the stifling expectations it had placed upon them. Indeed, by 1964 every young Torontonian (and many young Canadians) likely knew that social rebellion and Yorkville went together as fingers interlaced. Making the Scene unpacks the complicated history of this fraught community, examining the various meanings represented by this alternative scene in an anxious 1960s. Throughout, this dissertation emphasizes the relationship between power, authenticity and identity on the figurative stage for identity performance that was Yorkville.