Apr 22, 2012

Posted by in Blog | 242 Comments

Eastern Sound at the Yorkville Village, Toronto, Canada

            In the heart of what once was the YorkvilleVillage in the 1960s and 70s, within the walls of two Victorian houses situated at 48 and 38 Yorkville Avenue, lied one of the greatest sound recording studio complexes in Canada.

             Eastern Sound Studios was the first studio in Canada to make the quantum leap from an 8-track recording facility to 24-track when it deployed the new Ampex recorders with a 16 and 24-track capability. And by synchronizing two recording decks, it was the first one in the world to deploy a 46-track recording capability.

             Eastern Sound was situated on Yorkville Avenue, exactly where the new Four Seasons Private Residences complex is currently under construction.

In a span of 15 years, between 1965 and 1980 it had amassed an envious track record of having recorded many Canadian and international stars. In 1968 it was where Dolores Claman recorded a jingle that she had composed for an Esso TV commercial which was later adopted as the theme song for Hockey Night in Canada telecast. It was the place where the late Hagood Hardy composed a track for Salada TV commercial in 1972, a forerunner to a longer version called the Homecoming, a national hit.

In the 1960s Yorkville was a haven to many US draft dodgers and it was the capital of the hippie sub-culture movement. It was a breeding ground for some of the most noted talents such as Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell.

These artists garnered a following of youngsters who were disillusioned by the pervading materialistic culture and were disenchanted with the Vietnam War. The youth frequented Yorkville to find solace and like-minded individuals.   They rubbed shoulders with their peers and hung out in coffee houses and were inspired by the talent of people like Lightfoot, Young and Mitchell. Bernie Fiedler’s Riverboat Coffee House at 134 Yorkville was one of those places where the youth got their share of inspiration.

The location of Eastern Sound in the midst of all this positioned it as a place where such artistic endeavors were put to vinyl and shared with the rest of the world. Over a decade these artists made their mark on the national and international scene. Artists such as Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray made Eastern Sound their home by recording several albums and award winning songs. Other Canadian icons such as Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLaughlin and groups like the Lighthouse also recorded at Eastern.

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Eastern Sound also built an international reputation by attracting talent such as Elton John, Cat Stevens, Isaac Hayes and Dionne Warwick. The late Jim Henson also recorded the sound track album for the Frog Prince.

If the walls of those Victorian houses could talk!  Alas, they are no longer standing. They have been flattened to make way for the condominium complex that is under construction, thus paving the way for a new era, we call progress.


Salim Sachedina

September 30, 2010

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  1. Jim E Weir says:

    Who owned and ran Eastern Sound?

    • I worked there between 1969 and 1979. During the 10 years of my tenure there, it was, firstly, owned by Canadian Manoir Industries and then, in mid 70s, it was owned by Standard Broadcasting.

      • Peter Houston says:

        How are things with you. My greaatest memories from my career are from Eastern sound. Hockey Night in Canada, Haygood Hardy, Lighthouse just to name a few of the hundreds of recordings I was asked to work on. I left Eastern to join Terry Brown and Doug Riley at torn to Sound, subsequently opened my studio United Media. I an now well retired and living the good life on a lake up north of toronto.

    • Roger Monk says:

      Hi Salim,

      Just came across your blog and read it with great interest, bought back so many memories.

      One additional name from the early years was David Kalmbach.

      I saw you in Vancouver about 16 years ago – seems you are well and happy.

      Very best regards

      • Thank you Roger. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Yes, David Kalmbach. The quiet and peaceful with a ready smile. Where is he these days? Are you in touch with him? It’s nice to hear from you, Roger. I wrote the article because I thought people will read it and contribute their experiences of the great place we all worked in. Best wishes.

  2. Salim:

    Re: YORKVILLE in the 60s: A Birthplace of Canadian Song – Heritage Toronto Plaque Series

    You’ll be interested to learn that I iniated a project to place commemorative plaques at the most famous Yorkville coffee houses starting with the Riverboat, outside what is the now the 5-star Hazelton Hotel (plaque removed temporarily due to loose bolts).

    The Penny Farthing, Purple Onion and the Mynah Bird will also be plaqued.


    • In that case, Eastern Sound deserves a similar recognition. If you can arrange it, we will appreciate it. Thank you for responding. Best wishes.

  3. David Morrison says:

    In the early ’70s, a young blues band, recently signed by Warner Brothers, recorded their self-titled album “Whiskey Howl” there. We were all very nervous, but were helped through the process, by Eastern staff members and the fabulous “Magic” Dave Stock, who captured it all to 24track tape.
    Thanks, Salim!!!
    David Morrison

    • So nice to hear from you. I suppose the remembrance of an object from the past has its own magic. Are you in touch with David Stock?
      Thank you for your input.

  4. Pat Hurley says:

    What wonderful memories. It was a special time in my career too Salim.

    I met you when Standard Broadcasting took over and l was running it as a division of Standard.

    We renovated the old house and improved the recording equipment as well.I met Anne Murray there.

    We syndicated a number of radio programs from those studios including Big Country hosted by Bill Anderson who is now on mid-mornings on CFMZ the Classical station in Toronto. Bill moved from Country to Classics, very versatile guy.

    We should have lunch soon




    Remember all the jingles we produced there in co-operation with T.M Productions in Dallas Texas. We provided a lot of work for Toronto musiciams.

  5. Thanks for the article Salim….we sure knew that Eastern Sound was a unique facility in Toronto at that time.
    I think I was there from ’71 to ’76 , almost fresh out of Ryerson….and was the first “chick” setting up mics in the studios (M.S. thought it would be a novelty and the guys thought it was “cute”. They ((M.S.} wouldn’t let me train to be a recording engineer because I was a chick so I settled for head of the duplicating/film transfer/shipping departments for a few years. Once in a while they let me record a voice over.
    I didn’t realize you left for Sounds Interchange so soon after.
    I’m sad that they are finally wiping out the last link to the Yorkville of the ’60′s for yet another condo or hotel. Yeah, it’s all “glitz” now…and so superficisl…..the atmosphere is gone……and soon the memories will probably be too.
    Whatever happened to Chris Stone, John Stewart, David Stock, Roger Monk, the talk, skinny voice over engineer whose name I can’t recall now, and Peter (my first assistant)……and of course Imogine……..or Murray Shields and Manoir’s Pierre for that matter?
    Wow, we sure were a motley crew and catered to some pretty terrific clients and talent…….a few have sadly passed on. A lot pf memorable music came out of the walls.
    Many a romance blossomed in that studio too, some that lasted for ever. You sure lucked out with Honey.
    It’s been a long time since we last talked and I lost your phone number. I’m on the North Carolina coast now,still hoping to retire on my farm in Ontario. Hope to here from you and catch up since Illinois and Sounds Interchange exit.

    Love, Gabi
    gabriele@ec.rr.com (send me your phone number or e-mail)

  6. Terry McManus says:

    The first time I walked into Eastern Sound I knew that everything I wanted to do in music, would be done in a place as beautiful and as exciting as Eastern Sound. I became good friends with Bill Seddon and remain so to this day; (he lives in Sault Ste. Marie now.)

    Eastern, Nimbus 9, Thunder …… so many great places that produced great music. Fantastic memories. Thanks for posting Salim!

    • Thank you, Terry, for your comments. The place meant a lot to many people, for different reasons. When you next contact Bill, please convey to him my best wishes.

  7. Hello Salim!

    I am a Ph.D. Student at York University. I am desperate for some information on the music of the sixties in Yorkville.
    Should you have time for a few questions, I would be most appreciative.


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