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A Look Back at Toronto, Music-Video Style

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For today's Throwback Thursday post, let's see which of the city's landmarks were used as backdrops for music videos back in the days when Much Music was still "The Nation's Music Station". Some are still around, but others have been lost to history (or development). How many can you spot?

↑ Here are the Barenaked Ladies, taking a wintry tour of their old Scarborough stomping grounds from the back of a pickup truck as they sing Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time". The band cruises past street-hockey games ("CAR!"), strip malls, ugly apartment blocks and new (at the time) housing developments. Here's a bonus, someone's mapped all the locations.


↑ Corey Hart's "Never Surrender" video starts out in what appears to be a small town, but when troubled-teen Corey runs away from home, he hitches a ride to the big city and before you know it he's slouching along Queen Street being hit on by working girls. It all works out okay for him; by the video's end he's wearing leather wristbands and singing with his band in a grody basement club, so we know Corey's gonna be just fine.

↑ The Spoons' "Romantic Traffic" uses riding the TTC as a metaphor for falling in and out of love, or something. Spiky-haired singer Gordon Deppe gazes moodily out the windows of a subway train as it crosses the Bloor Street Viaduct, bass player Sandy Horne clings to the support poles and bounces off the station walls like a billiard ball, and Rob Preuss and Derrick Ross mug and caper (sometimes at Benny-Hill speed) on the platform at Bloor station. Keep an eye out for the sadly-departed red subway trains.

↑ In "Rise Up", the catchy Latin-flavoured 1983 Parachute Club single, the band performs on the back of a flatbed truck as it rolls through neighbourhoods (slowly, of course; there are children at play) with a giant weird space-alien-head affixed to the truck's front end. The whole miming, breakdancing, moonwalking shebang eventually heads to Wellington Street, coming to a stop at Roy Thomson Hall. If they tried to shoot this video today they'd never make it through all the construction sites without losing a mime or two.

↑ Leonard Cohen may not be a Torontonian, but back in 1992 he picked that famous Dovercourt booze can the Matador Club to shoot the video of his sweet, sad "Closing Time". The club was the perfect match for the grainy black-and-white video and Cohen's gravelly voice. The Matador's sign is still on the front of the building at 466 Dovercourt, but the Matador saw its own last closing time in 2007 and the building's been empty ever since.

Know any other videos where Toronto has a starring role? Let us know in the comments.

· All Throwback Thursday posts [Curbed Toronto]