A Toronto Carpenter Is Memorializing the City’s Lost Music Venues

A Toronto carpenter is making mini models of Toronto's shuttered music venues, bars, and nightclubs in order to memorialize the city's music scene.

A miniature model of the Toronto nightclub 'The Kool Haus'

Image via Instagram/@asmith.yyz

A miniature model of the Toronto nightclub 'The Kool Haus'

Toronto has been fighting to be known as a music city for years. Though many of the city’s concert venues, bars, and clubs have shut down due to a myriad of infrastructure issues— on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—one Toronto resident is memorializing these spaces in a small way.

Andrew Smith started building community lending libraries to pass the time during the pandemic. Then, he realized he could be using his carpentry skills to memorialize the sadly growing number of shuttered music venues in the city. 

“[I realized] I could even make the Silver Dollar as a little library—and that’s what I started doing—and then I realized that I didn’t really care about the library part—and so it went on from there,” Smith says to CTV News


So far, Smith has built miniatures of some of Toronto’s most iconic lost venues, a few of them being The Kool Haus, The Orbit Room, Rancho Relaxo, Hugh’s Room, and the Real Jerk—where Rihanna’s video for “Work” featuring Drake was filmed. 


The little libraries then evolved into Toronto, Lost Music City, Smith’s project that takes these venues and scales them down into miniatures. For Smith, everything is in the little details, as he includes intricate specs from each venue to make the minis as accurate as possible. 

Music fans who previously patronized these bars appreciate the attention to detail, Smith tells CTV News. “People will tell me, ‘Oh this is a really perfect model, but you missed something—you missed me hanging out the window, smoking a cigarette, waiting for George to change the keg’—things like that.”

Smith tells CTV News that he hopes Toronto, Lost Music City is eventually turned into a “historical, educational exhibit.” He plans to add at least ten more venues to the project, before he changes focus and builds minis of other pivotal Toronto landmarks. 


Latest in Music