Toronto's El Mocambo Is Reopening in Less Than a Month

The historic venue's restoration is finally complete
Toronto's El Mocambo Is Reopening in Less Than a Month
After being shuttered for over six years, Toronto's historic music venue, El Mocambo, is finally scheduled to reopen — possibly well before "the snow melts."

At an exclusive sneak peek held yesterday (March 3) at the venue, owner Michael Wekerle — who has spent over $30 million revitalizing the Spadina Avenue and College Street venue — confirmed that the venue's tentative opening date is set for April 1.

Additionally, Wekerle announced plans to ask Pearl Jam to hold a public rehearsal at the venue while they're in town for their performance at Scotiabank Arena on March 18. Wekerle also said he has "had conversations" with the Rolling Stones, Billy Idol, the Who and more about performing at the Elmo after its reopening. 

Furthermore, El Mocambo has had some major upgrades since its closure. This includes the installation of a state-of-the-art recording facility, which will allow the "control room" to record and broadcast live performances from both of its two new stage areas. Both stages have also been optimized for sightlines, as well as soundproofing.

"No matter where you are on this whole floor, you can see the stage," Wekerle explained. "And it's soundproof. If we have downstairs playing Metallica, we could have upstairs with Joan Baez."

Wekerle went on to say that the venue now has a rough capacity of about 1,000 people between the two stages and that you can expect an average ticket price to run between $100 and $1,000 depending on the performer.

Initially, Wekerle projected that the venue would reopen in time for Canadian Music Week's 2020 edition, which is scheduled to run from May 19 to 23. Now, it appears plans have shifted to a much earlier date. This news should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the venue is known for its several false starts over the years.

The last decade was not too kind to the poor Elmo — plans for major renovations of the venue began all the way back in 2012. Its doors were officially shuttered back in 2014.

After changing hands multiple times over the years, Wekerle — a Dragons' Den panellist and CEO of Difference Capital Financial — officially purchased the venue in early 2015. The iconic palm tree sign was relit back in 2018, signalling its eventual return. That very sign now hangs inside the venue's second storey, flanking the new main stage area.