New Wave in North America

Toronto could lay claim to the second best New Wave music scene in North America for a number of reasons. First, there was a small but well-informed music community that was catered to by passionate promoters, such as The Garys: Gary Topp and Gary Cormier. The two adventurous music fans met in the mid-1970s when Topp was presenting cult movies at Toronto’s Roxy Theatre, and Cormier was a budding promoter disillusioned with staid and predictable bar bands. The first show by The Garys was in September 1976—the Ramones at the Roxy. Their success as promoters grew as the music and the artists developed. Gary Topp recalled that time in a conversation with me: “First and foremost, we were with the curve on all things British … Brit bands did better here [in Canada], because of the cultural connection to the UK, than they did in the US … they always made a splash here … we were also very connected to New York. … Without the bands, the promoters, and the audience, which collectively amounted to only about a thousand people, there would have been no scene.”

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