Folk music and Yorkville Coffeehouses

The Purple Onion

The Purple Onion was hailed as one of the first and one of the most important coffee houses to arrive on the early Yorkville sceneOpened up by 6 individuals known as the Purple Onion group, the president of the club was a man named Al Latsman. The Purple Onion was known to host  Folk music performances as its main form of entertainment. while watching these shows, individuals could enjoy beverages such as coffee and light snacks such as sandwiches and cake. located at the Address of 35 avenue road, The Purple Onion was right in middle of the Yorkville scene. The purple onion greatly pushed the scene in Yorkville aaccording to Nicolas Jennings, in 1964 it was considered the most successful coffee house of the time.
According to Buffy Saint Marie, who was one of the more prominent folk Figures who visited the Onion, it was the place to be in talking about politics and music. The Purple Onion was place for aspiring folk artists to gather. In its later years of 1965, a shift would be seen and more jazz and rock would be featured by bands made up of young eager teenagers.  This was to keep up with the change of pace Yorkville would see in the mid to late 60s. One famous rock band that consisted of teenager's who gigged at the Onion was Luke and Apostles.
At its maximum capacity it could onlfit 90 people and was described by on goers in the Toronto star to be as spacious as a telephone booth with the stage being the telephone. Old photos reveal that Inside there where old chairs and tables that gave a diner like feel. True to the old-fashioned Victorian houses of the time, the exterior of Onion was described by a Maclean's reporter to be "a Victorian parlor that was blown up by a gas explosion during a whist drive"

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