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Queen West


The area between University Avenue and Spadina Avenue was a cultural nexus in the 1980s known for its restaurants, clubs and eclectic mix of street performers, musicians and a haven for the punk rock scene with its famous club kids such as Kinga, Seika, Wanda and a host of others. In the 1960s and early 1970s, this stretch of Queen Street West was an ageing commercial strip, known for "greasy spoon" restaurants and inexpensive housing in the area. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the area was transformed by local students, including those of the nearby Ontario College of Art & Design, and the area developed an active music scene which was one of the dominant centres of Canadian music in its era.


The vibrant arts culture soon attracted other artists, audiences, and wealthier people to the area. Since then, the name "Queen Street" has become synonymous with the words "trendy", "hip", and "cool". Older and hipper bars such as the Cameron, the Horseshoe Tavern and The Rivoli have not changed much, and top Canadian musical and comedy acts can still often be found performing in the area.


The broadcast hub at 299 Queen Street West (formerly called the CHUM-City Building), housing a number of CTVglobemedia's television operations, is located at the corner of Queen and John Streets in this area. Most notably, MuchMusic has become intimately associated with Queen Street's culture; the station's VJs have often broadcast their segments live from outside the building, and programs such as Electric Circus and the MuchMusic Video Awards have regularly taken place on the street.


A movement by local citizens to rename the area "Soho" after a side-street in the area has never been taken seriously by the municipal government.



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