Eight things you didn’t know about the Kingston music scene

By Visit Kingston

And how you can learn more on a new walking tour

Kingston has long been a hub for music creativity. Home of The Tragically Hip, Miss Emily, The Glorious Sons, and more, the city boasts a number of venues that have fostered musical talent and launched careers. Explore these stories through the Creative Kingston music walking tours. 

Miss Emily performing at the Merchant MacLiam

1. In 1984, The Tragically Hip played their very first show at the Kingston Artists’ Association on Queen Street. There were 13 people in the audience for the show. 

2. The Merchant Tap House, once known as The Merchant MacLiam, was the launching pad for the musical careers of both Miss Emily and The Glorious Sons. 

3. The Kingston Grand Theatre was once known as the Grand Opera House. When it opened in 1902, the Grand Opera House hosted comic operas and theatre performances.  

4. Alannah Myles shot part of the video for her huge 1989 hit “Black Velvet” at Stages Nightclub on Princess Street. 

5. CFRC Radio – Radio Queen’s University – is Canada’s longest running campus and community radio station. It started in 1922. The station promotes both local and Canadian musicians. 

6. Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo played his first Kingston show in 1978 in Grant Hall at an end-of-year concert for Queen’s University students.  

7. Jill Barber made her public singing debut at the age of 16 at The Grad Club at an open mic night.  

8. Future members of The Tragically Hip, Moist, 13 Engines, The Mahones, and the Headstones all attended local high school KCVI in the 1980s. 

High school yearbook photos featuring members of The Tragically Hip

Visit all these sites and learn more about Kingston’s musical stories, on a free, self-guided walking tour narrated by local musicians and music-lovers. Each tour also includes archival photos, videos, and music.  https://www.visitkingston.ca/walking-tours/music/