Toronto wouldn’t be the vibrant city it is without the Jamaicans who started calling this place home starting in the early 60s and made their stamp on Toronto’s food and music culture.
In the late 60s, Jackie Mittoo, renowned songwriter & pianist in the legendary ska band Skatalites, and house bandleader for Jamaica’s hugely influential Studio One record label, moved to Toronto and immediately made an impact in the music world, taking advantage of Canadian-content rules to get his sounds on the airwaves. Mittoo was followed by other luminaries of the Jamaican reggae scene, such as Leroy Sibbles, lead singer of The Heptones and session bass player at Studio One, plus legendary vocalists Alton Ellis, Nana McLean and Johnny Osbourne.
Before long, the stretch of Eglinton Ave west of Dufferin was chock-a-block with record stores, performance venues and recording studios. In fact, “Little Jamaica” became the second-largest hub for reggae recording in the world. Reggae vibes spread around the city, and downtown venues like the Bamboo on Queen West became nightlife hotspots.
We brewed this delicious Export Stout (the most popular style in Jamaica) as a way of saying thanks to all the Jamaican-Canadians who’ve added their style and flavour to Toronto.