Kathleen Edwards Ottawa Jazz Festival Donovan Woods

Three years in Toronto

It’s kind of hard to believe I’ve been in Toronto three years today – or, actually, it’s hard to believe I’ve only been in Toronto for three years. When I packed up my mom’s car and left Halifax back in 2014, I didn’t know for sure if I’d be back after my six-month internship at Eggplant Entertainment, but I hoped that I’d be able to make a place for myself here in the city and spend some time as a little fish in this big pond. When that six months turned into a year, I knew I was here for good – and I’ve never regretted that decision.

Three years in, it’s kind of wild to think back on all the things I’ve done and experienced, all the new friendships and work relationships I’ve formed, all the things I’ve learned and skills I’ve developed. This could easily turn into a very long and wordy post (three years is a long time!) but instead, here’s a quick rundown of the last three years by the numbers, and then some of my favourite memories in photo and video form:

Since moving to Toronto I have…

  • Lived in four bedrooms in three apartments
  • Had seven roommates
  • Interned for one year at Eggplant Entertainment
  • Freelanced full-time for almost two years
  • Been to (at least) sixteen music festivals
  • Toured nine countries and nine Canadian provinces on seven tours with six bands/artists
  • Attended two Folk Music Ontario conferences, both as an official showcasing artist and as a Tour Manager
  • Photographed five bands/artists
  • Had one music photo selected to hang in a gallery exhibition
  • Had one photo used as an EP cover
  • Worked two Polaris Music Prize galas
  • Worked one show at the Rogers Centre, tearing down chairs after Taylor Swift’s two-night run
  • Done Front Of House (live sound) for two bands/artists and one festival
  • Been to more concerts than I could even begin to count…

And now, on to a few (more than a few) fun memories from the last three years, in more or less chronological order:

So many First Play Lives at CBC:

Best Wednesday: Amelia Curran First Play Live at CBC in Toronto. #TheyPromisedYouMercy

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Taking full advantage of the backstage bar at Osheaga:

My first Muskoka weekend:

Sha-la-la-la-la-la.

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My first Jays game:

Couldn’t help but think my dad would’ve liked to have taken me to my first MLB game.

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Side-stage for The War on Drugs at Ottawa Folk Fest (the year before they rebranded as CityFolk):

Dear The War on Drugs I love you

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Visiting Quitters before it opened, and helping to plan/launch/run the socials:

Stittsville, you may be seeing a lot more of me soon.

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Living close enough to get to spend Thanksgiving with my crazy siblings (and a bunch more family, too):

Canoe adventures with the siblings. Thanksgiving is the best.

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Salad Club at the Eggplant/Bernie Breen/Dave Spencer office:

I probably derive too much joy from arranging the Salad Club platter.

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Interning under this amazing, brilliant, generous human for a full year (and the infinitely memorable staff holiday party at which this was taken):

xoxox

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Seeing the Hip at the ACC with the whole office:

Meeting Stuart McLean at CBC Music Fest:

#VinylCafe chats at #CBCMusicFest

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So many fun festival hangs:

Pre- @fieldtriplife day two drinks with @avehof @joshieweiss & James 🍻 #fieldtripto

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Meeting some of my favourite authors:

“Are you Jen O-c-h…?”

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Touring the UK with Sarah Jane Scouten:

Camden Lock. #SJSUKtour2015

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So many Folk Music Ontario memories:

A weekend in Ontario and Quebec with Amelia Curran:

A handful of Christmas shows with the Good Lovelies around Ontario:

One more night with @goodlovelies. Man, I love my life. #glxmas2015 📷: Nikon D90, 50mm lens

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Getting into crocheting – a JUNO for Ria Mae‘s birthday!

Photos with Jenny Berkel, Ria Mae, and Sarah Jane Scouten:

Dismantling the patriarchy one feminist hang at a time:

💃🏻 #latergram #superladies #goodfriends #goodpeople

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Moving in with the badass Emma Julien:

Touring the Maritimes with Christa Couture:

Why yes I am running sound tonight 💪🏻 . #LTLtour #babyboard #tourmanager #tourlife #bosslady

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Working with the amazing Jim Bryson (and the first of many great times at Strombo‘s house):

Taking my brother to CBC Music Fest before he went off to a summer at Basic Training:

Press days with Ria Mae:

Finding one of those best friends who you feel like you’ve known your whole life:

Driving from Victoria to Toronto for the first time:

My spirit lives on Vancouver Island #tovictoriaandback #explorecanada #beautifulbc

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The Man Machine Poem tour’s Ottawa stop:

The most hilarious night after a Ria Mae gig:

Teching a side stage at Shelter Valley Folk Festival:

Assisting with main stage changeovers at Shelter Valley Folk Festival:

Working a couple Polaris Prize galas with the Indoor Recess team:

@polarismusicprize hangs with the Indoor Recess team 👯👯 #latergram #polaris2016

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Driving Basia Bulat‘s tour van from Montreal to Winnipeg:

I could probably never live in northern Ontario, but god it’s beautiful up here 🍃🍂

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Launching a photography business with one of the most talented photographers I’ve ever known:

Photos with NEFE:

Touring Western Canada and Ontario with Ria Mae:

What a tour, what a bunch of brilliant, talented weirdos. I love these people. (📷: @halfwaytoroman)

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Going to Russia and Amsterdam with my grandma:

There are no outlets at our seat send help

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Touring Europe with The Dears:

A weekend in Quebec with Ria Mae:

Having a photo in the Sound Image exhibition at Analogue Gallery:

Starting to do live sound as a real thing, beginning with Long Range Hustle this past weekend:

If you’re still here – thanks for taking that walk down Memory Lane with me. It’s hard to distill three entire years into one post without going a bit overboard!

It’s truly unreal to me to think of everything that’s happened in three years – it feels like much longer, in a way, but also like I just got here yesterday. When I left Halifax I had no idea what to expect (and I certainly could never have imagined all this!) but I’m so grateful every day for all the opportunities I’ve had since moving here.

When I try to look ahead to what’s coming in the next three years (and beyond), it’s like a big exciting mystery to me. If it’s anything like these past three, it’s going to be one hell of a ride. Here’s to more touring, more live music, more adventures!

See you out on the road.

xx

Want to keep up with my next adventures and get some tips and tidbits about touring, social media, and life in the Canadian music industry? Sign up for my TinyLetter (I’ll never spam you, promise)!

Feature photo (top of page) by Donovan Woods; backstage at Ottawa Jazz Festival 2014 with Kathleen Edwards.

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