Celebrated November 15th, during a lighting ceremony marking the next chapter and 70th anniversary of the legendary venue.
“The El Mocambo is the most legendary venue in the world, at least that’s my opinion having grown up in Toronto over the last 54 years,” says Wekerle. “The live music experience has been in decline for the past 20 years in all major cities across North America and we’re hoping to change that. I would like to thank the team responsible for working with me to resurrect the El Mocambo to keep live music alive – #keeplivealive.”
Since 1948, the well-known sign with its palm fronds and coconut clusters has decorated and irradiated the landmark venue at College and Spadina, where acts ranging from local up-and-coming indie bands to Blondie, U2 and the Rolling Stones have performed “under the neon palms,” the clubs familiarly famous slogan. The beloved 2,300-kilogram steel logo hasn’t been on display since 2016 when it was taken down to be restored. Once removed, it revealed decades of damage beyond repair and from there the decision was made to reconstruct the marquee.
The venues multi-coloured neon palms were restored by Pride Signs in Cambridge, a process that took over a year to complete and includes the work of veteran neon bender, Bismarck Coca. “We reproduced it exactly,” says Brad Hillis, founder and president of Pride Signs. “So it is going to be identical in shape and size.”
The closure of the historic Toronto entertainment venue was announced in October 2014 before Wekerle, Founder and Chairman of merchant bank Difference Capital Financial Inc., and former Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den stepped forward to purchase it.
As previously announced, the El Mocambo is nearing the end of a major restoration. The new edition will serve as the brand new headquarters for many offshoots that include El Mocambo Records, El Mocambo merchandise, and a rich line-up of products highlighting the venue’s historical past.
Visit www.elmocambo.com for additional details and more information as it becomes available.